Lady Spartans remain undefeated

By Dan Karpiel

The Surveyor

Nine games into the season and things are looking pretty good for the Berthoud High School girls basketball team. After squeaking past Niwot by a 62-60 final on Dec. 15 and then dishing out a 71-38 drubbing of Thompson Valley on Tuesday, Berthoud enters Christmas break with a perfect 9-0 record.

The phenomenal start has even come as a slight surprise to first-year Head Coach Alan Gibson, who noted his players rapidly adapted to the change in scheme and philosophy.

“To think you’re going to be 9-0 would be pretty far-fetched, starting a new system, getting to know each other, it would be hard to think you could be 9-0,” Gibson said. “But these girls have been so unselfish, they’ve played so hard, they’re put things together, and they’re so committed to doing something special.”

Playing at Thompson Valley on Tuesday evening the Lady Spartans employed the same approach they have all season long – attack on defense and then attack on offense. Berthoud has the athleticism to play the full length of the court defensively, and that is a formula for creating turnovers, and once the opponents are forced into mistakes the Lady Spartans capitalize with an up-tempo offense that looks to take shots quickly. Before the crowd had all settled into the Thompson Valley bleachers, Berthoud was up 17-2 and, by the early second quarter, had commanding 26-10 lead.

The fast pace at which Berthoud plays is only attainable if the team has the depth to rotate in fresh players throughout the game without having a significant drop in production. As Gibson explained, “I think we’re a really balanced team. In order to play at the pace and the speed and the intensity that this system calls for, you can’t do it with just five or six kids. It requires a lot more. I think (the depth) also helps with team morale, it helps with chemistry because the girls know they’re going to play here quite a bit.”

The depth of which the coach speaks has been on display all season long, even if it has not always shown up in the box score, said Gibson, “People are going to look at stats and see Emily (Cavey) is averaging 20 a game, but when you go though there and you see the rest of the point totals, it’s impressive. We have a lot of girls contributing in different ways each night.”

Newcomer Logan Davidson is one of those. The junior, who is playing for Berthoud this season after transferring from Northridge, went off for personal season-best 28 points and seven rebounds on the night. Davidson said she credits the team’s success, not just Tuesday at Thompson Valley, but all season long on the team’s chemistry, saying, “I think all of us are really close, we’re all friends, and we get along really well, and I think that helps us on the court. In practice we all push each other really hard.”

Davidson echoed what her coach said about the team’s depth, saying, “It’s nice to know we can count on each other and have a lot of good players on the team this year … it’s nice to know we have a lot of people we can count on.”

Using an aggressive and adaptable defense that is not married to one particular scheme, which Gibson refers to as “organized chaos,” to create opportunities offensively will be Berthoud’s over-arching approach this season, even if it tweaked in one way or another depending upon the opponent. “I think our defense is really what is helping us,” Davidson said. “I think if we do good defensively it really pushes our offense and makes us do better, it gives us more opportunities to score.”

 

Davidson said the perfect start was not planned and the team takes everything one step at a time, but if she was asked before the season began if a 9-0 start was realistic, the junior replied, “We just try to play it game-by-game … but I think if you asked me then I would have said ‘yeah, we can start 9-0.’”

Berthoud, whose hot start has finally begun to get notice statewide as the team enters the break as No. 10-ranked team in Class 4A, will tip off their Tri-Valley Conference schedule with a trip to Erie (3-4) on Jan. 2.

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