Spartans clip Falcons’ wings

By Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

“That was as good of defense as I’ve seen us play,” said Randy Earl, Berthoud High School (BHS) girls basketball coach, after his team held Tri-Valley Conference foe Skyline to just seven first-half points on their way to a 46-36 win in the BHS gym on Tuesday night.

“We were in good position, we were where we were supposed to be; we really, really played good defense,” Earl said.

Berthoud surrendered just three field goals to Skyline in the first half to take a 20-7 lead into halftime. Skyline made two of their first three from the floor but missed their next 13 until Vanessa Villereal’s short jumper found the bottom of the net with just 58 seconds remaining before the break.

The Lady Spartans performance on the defensive end of the floor helped offset an otherwise lackluster first-half performance on the offensive end. Berthoud made good on just five of 17 field-goal attempts in the first half. A six-of-seven effort from the free-throw line ameliorated an offense that, in Earl’s words was playing, “way too fast and way too out of control,” and committed eight turnovers in the opening 16 minutes.

Skyline fired what offensive bullets they could to begin the second half, assembling a 12-4 run to put the score at 24-19 in Berthoud’s favor by the 3:17 mark in the third period, with the Lady Spartans only points coming on lay-ups from senior center Kyleigh Milan. A third close-range shot from Milan, who scored all 10 of her points in the second half, a jumper from fellow-senior Morgan Schachterle and an and-one from Emily Cavey helped Berthoud pull into a comfortable 31-19 by the end of the frame.

“I think we all just realized we have to look at each other rather than a specific spot, and once we realized there were people open down low rather than just on the sides it opened up some chances for me to shoot,” Milan said of her scores in the second half. The senior added another two buckets in the fourth quarter by finding open space down low that her teammates promptly recognized.

“When we passed a little bit, we found Kyleigh inside several times; that’s what we’ve got to do; she was open and we saw it,” Earl said.

Berthoud’s defense returned to their first-half form in the fourth period, forcing Skyline to miss their first seven attempts from the floor while Milan’s two scores from in the paint were supplemented by buckets from the outside by Cavey – an emerging double-double machine who paced the Lady Spartans with 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists – Sydney Meis and Ashlee Burdette.

“We did play defense really well this game … we kind of woke up and realized we need to start working harder in practice and not underestimate certain teams. We need to have that mindset when we face Holy Family or Windsor.”

Berthoud (11-7, 5-4 conf.) will travel to Broomfield for a matchup with No. 8-ranked (4A) Holy Family on Feb. 3 and will then host Roosevelt at the BHS gym on Feb. 7.