Berthoud basketball earns much-needed win

By Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

It may have taken a while, but the old adage that good things come to those who wait – and work, and fight and struggle and never give up – was proven true in the Berthoud High School gym on Tuesday night.

The Berthoud boys basketball team earned a long-overdue and much-needed win in defeating Skyline by a 62-53 final in the pair’s Tri-Valley Conference (TVC) tilt Tuesday night. The victory snaps a 15-game skid for the Spartans and gives the team their first conference win this season.

“It’s been a rough go, I’m not gonna lie and say it’s not,” Berthoud Head Coach Mike Burkett said after the game. “But it’s a testament to these kids who just haven’t quit.”

Berthoud did not make the mistakes that have doomed them in prior games. After going down 2-0 in the game’s opening minute, the Spartans quickly took and expanded a lead to 7-2 by the 5:20 mark and never looked back. Burkett and junior guard Jake Yuska, who was one of three Spartans, along with seniors Karsten Bump and Noah Purdy, to hit double-figures in scoring. Both pointed to the team’s mental approach.

“We just kept our intensity up, picked each other up, when something didn’t go our way; everyone had everyone’s back and no one got down,” Yuska explained.

“We were resilient today,” said Burkett. “That would be the word of the day, and that’s what we kept talking about timeouts, having some poise, knowing they’re going to come at us.”

Throughout the game, Berthoud got clutch plays when they needed them to keep the visiting Falcons at bay. After Skyline assembled a 6-0 run to begin the second quarter, a trey from junior Ben Burkett kept Berthoud in front 22-18. Senior Josh Doyle came off the bench and hit a big three with 3:42 left in the third to give Berthoud a 39-31 lead. Yuska scored 11 of his 13 in second half, six coming on and-ones in crunch time. The Spartans made good on 10 free-throws in the fourth period when the Falcons began fouling in an attempt to preserve time.

“We made our free-throws when it counted, we got some key contributions from some guys off the bench,” Burkett said, but added it was of one of his team’s captains’ intangibles that was most impactful.

“Karsten Bump is the best leader I’ve ever seen,” Burkett said. “He was telling the guys the whole time ‘we’re gonna do this,’ and when Karsten Bump says this is what you’re going to do, by-golly that’s what you’re going to do.”

The senior scored 13 points for Berthoud, scoring from both the floor and foul line in all four periods.

“It feels really good, we’ve had a frustrating season, but everyone has bought in and tonight everyone contributed and it was a good team win,” Yuska said. “It’s what we’ve been looking for for a while.”

Berthoud (2-16, 1-8 conf.) will try to get their second conference win of the year when they travel to No. 5-ranked (4A) Holy Family (14-4, 9-0 conf.) on Friday, Feb. 3.