Lady Spartans lose overtime heartbreaker to rival Windsor

By Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

It is always important to take advantage of any chance or opportunity that presents itself.

Playing last Friday night at Berthoud High School (BHS), the Lady Spartans failed to take advantage of their opponent’s – Tri-Valley Conference (TVC) rival Windsor – considerable shooting struggles in the first half. The Lady Wizards shot a measly 5-for-32 from the floor in the opening 16 minutes, yet Berthoud was only able to build a four-point lead by halftime.

Windsor was able to correct its wayward ways from the floor and ultimately win the game, in overtime, 43-37.

“We should have had a bigger lead in the first half; we missed a lot of easy shots early. We should have been up 10, 15 points instead we were up…but it wasn’t nearly enough,” Berthoud Head Coach Randy Earl said after the game.

It was not just missing shots – Berthoud was a respectable 7-of-15 from the floor in the opening half – but turning the ball over; that did Berthoud in just as much, if not more. The Lady Spartans gave the ball away 26 times on the night, nine times in the first period alone. While Windsor missed its first 12 shots, and 14 of its first 16, the Lady Spartans missed chance after chance, throwing the ball away before even getting an opportunity to score.

Berthoud’s Kristina Cavey, asked after the game about her team’s inability to build a bigger lead early when Windsor struggled from the floor, said, “Whenever we started to get up they executed their trap really well, so that put us back a little bit, we weren’t able to get a shot.”

With Berthoud holding a scant four-point lead, 17-13, both teams emerged from their respective locker rooms after the halftime intermissions appearing, at least somewhat, to have corrected the flaws that plagued them in the first half.

The Lady Wizards rattled off a series of possessions where they made good on five of seven shot attempts to tie the game at 23-all by the 4:43 mark in the third period. Windsor continued shooting well, taking the lead outright on two separate occasions. Yet Cavey drained a pair of shots from downtown, one at the 2:38 mark and a second with just 0:39 left in the third, each time keeping the home team ahead by one.

Tied at 31 to begin the fourth, the Lady Spartans slowly and methodically built a lead. Buckets from Cavey, Maria Fate and Audrey Kouns put Berthoud in front 37-33 with just 2:28 remaining. At this point, Berthoud switched to a ball-control offense, attempting to bleed as much time as possible off the clock and protect its lead.

Yet, just as in the first half, Berthoud turnovers, three in the final minute and a half of regulation, gave Windsor its moment of opportunity. Alysa Manicone sank a jumper from the corner to cut Berthoud’s lead to 37-35. Two possessions later, Windsor forced a turnover and got the ball under their own basket with just six seconds left. A lay-up from Lauren Gustafson tied the game at 37, forcing overtime.

“It was us that threw the ball away, there was no need to turn the ball over a lot of the times, I don’t know why, but we managed to turn the ball over a few too many times,” Earl said when asked what happened in the final minutes of regulation.

Windsor took advantage of a pair of Berthoud turnovers to take a four-point lead, 41-37, after just over one minute had ticked off the four-minute overtime clock. Berthoud, a team not built to play catch-up, was left scrambling for a chance to even the score.

Cavey, who led the Lady Spartans with 19 points and three steals on the night said, “I think it was a punch in the gut, it just put us back; it was hard to get back up there.”

“It makes it tough, when you’ve only got four minutes…you’ve got to have the lead or you’re playing catch-up and that doesn’t usually work,” Earl said.

Windsor, armed with a four-point lead and able to play the game on their terms, executed a ball-control offense of their own and did so more effectively than the Lady Spartans had done just a few minutes earlier. As Berthoud had to resort to fouling to stop the clock, Windsor did just enough from the line and on the defensive end to clinch a very important six-point win and take control of first place in the TVC.

Playing in Frederick on Tuesday night, the Lady Spartans (9-5, 4-1) got back to winning ways, beating the Lady Warriors (3-11, 1-4) by a 49-26 final score. Cavey and Taylor Armitage each hung 18 points on the board, while Sarah Howard contributed seven assists and Fate grabbed seven rebounds. Berthoud will travel to Broomfield to take on TVC new-comer Holy Family tomorrow night and will then return home for a matchup with Mead on Jan. 27.