Lady Spartans take two of three in Spartan Classic

Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

Seven games into the season, the Berthoud High School (BHS) girls basketball team is pleased where it is – with a 6-1 overall record and an offense that is scoring an average of 65 points per game – but know they have room for improvement.

The Lady Spartans won two of their three games in the annual Spartan Classic on Dec. 9-12 at BHS, besting Mountain View 62-42 and then topping Vista Peak 57-39 before losing in the championship game by a 56-46 final to Lutheran, a team that made the state final four in Class 3A last season.

The loss to Lutheran was Berthoud’s first of the season, and the 56 points the Lady Spartans surrendered represents the most they have allowed all year. “We didn’t play very good defense, that’s the worst defense I’ve seen us play in a long time,” Berthoud Head Coach Randy Earl said. “We can’t lose our focus, we’ve got to stay focused, and we lost our focus a little bit sometimes today.”

Berthoud standout forward Kristina Cavey, who ranks third in all of Class 4A with a 27.6 point per game scoring average, attributed the loss, in part, to fatigue.

“For sure, I don’t think there’s a kid out here that hasn’t been beaten up in some way and, yeah, that’s part of the game, but when you don’t have a chance to recover it’s harder to get back out there right away and be fresh,” Cavey said when asked if, after having played seven games in 12 days to begin the season, the Lady Spartans ran out of steam in the second half against Lutheran. “It isn’t beneficial at all, I know I’m worn out, I know our whole team is.”

Berthoud held a slim 23-22 lead at halftime against Lutheran but were out-scored 20-9 in the third quarter by the Lady Lions. Lutheran junior Shelbie Sperle scored 10 points in the third on four-of-five shooting, and Berthoud was never able to assemble a scoring run of their own.

In their first two games of the Spartan Classic, Berthoud was their usual dominant self. Cavey led the team in scoring both nights, hanging 27 on the board against Mountain View and 29 versus Vista Peak.

Something that Earl has emphasized in the early goings of the 2015-16 season is playing at a fast pace by pushing the ball down the court quickly. The results, according to Earl, have been improving with each game.

“We got kids that can run the floor and we can do some things, so we’ve been trying to push it; they did a much better job of it tonight than they have the last couple games,” Earl said after the win over Mountain View.

Senior center Taylor Armitage, who scored 18 points on a stellar six-for-eight effort from the floor that included a pair from downtown against Mountain View agreed, saying, “We’re definitely trying to keep the game faster but still under control, that’s something we’re always working on and tonight it worked a lot better … we did a great job tonight pushing the ball down the floor.”

In facing Vista Peak, a team with a pair of amply proportioned low-post players in Deme Moore and Jaylynn Johnson, Armitage, and Berthoud power forward Maria Fate had their work cut out for them in the low post.

“It’s a little hard when you’re a normally built person having to go against a wider built person but they did well,” Earl explained.

Fate, who grabbed 18 rebounds and dished out 11 assists in the tournament explained, “I think we did pretty good. [Armitage] had to front guard a lot of them so they couldn’t get the ball and then I had to stay off my person to help backside … we kept them off the boards and kept them from shooting.”

Berthoud, currently ranked ninth in Class 4A, will play their final game before the two-week Christmas break on Dec. 18 when they travel to Thompson Valley.