Posted On: 01/13/18 1:21 PM
On Friday night in Lafayette, the Northridge and Centaurus boys basketball teams played one thriller of a game that took two overtime periods before Centaurus pulled out a 61-60 victory on their home court. It was a game between two Northern League teams in Northridge (2-10) and Centaurus (4-8) that desperately needed a win and played like it.
Here are five things that stood out from the contest.
Free-throws and defense proved the difference-makers
This game went back and forth from the start of the second quarter to the end of the second overtime. In the end, a critical stand down the stretch turned out to be the play of the night. After back-to-back Centaurus turnovers and two Northridge baskets cut the Warriors’ lead to 59-58 in double overtime, the Warriors turned over the ensuing in-bounds pass and gave Grizzlies and chance to take the lead. On the next play, however, Centaurus senior Matt Shannon took a big charge that negated a go-ahead layup and allowed the Warriors to hold on for the win. The win snapped a seven-game losing streak.
Centaurus’ Nick Vaver emerging as a college prospect
Warriors junior Nick Vaver had an off night on Friday but still scored 14 points. He also hit a huge 3-pointer on the Warriors’ first possession of the second overtime that spurred his team on to victory. After playing in 13 games as a sophomore last season, Vaver has become the Warriors’ go-to guy as he continues to grow (6-3, 170) and is turning into a scoring machine. Averaging 17.2 points a game, Vaver scored 27 points against Greeley Central on Jan. 5 and followed that up with 40 points on 15 of 21 shooting against Thompson Valley four days later.
Northridge’s Andrew Vigil continues to fill it up
Averaging 18.4 points a game, the 6-foot, 155-pound senior is also putting up 3.9 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals a game. He is shooting 33 percent from behind the 3-point line and 44 percent from the field. A versatile player, Vigil is at his best when gets going early from long range and the Grizzlies depend on him for a significant percentage of their points.
Friday’s competition speaks volumes of Northern League’s talent
If Centaurus and Northridge are two of the bottom three teams in the 4A Northern League and can come together to play a game like Friday’s, then that says a lot about the quality of competition being play in that conference. The league currently has two teams – No. 2 Silver Creek and No. 6 Longmont – ranked in the top 10 by the CHSAANow.com poll and two others receiving votes.
Maybe next year’s Centaurus group can buck the trend
The Centaurus boys basketball team hasn’t had a winning season since the 2009-10 campaign and it’s probably not going to happen for the Warriors this winter. But this year’s team is a young group and most of its top contributors will be back in 2018-19. The Warriors should be better next season than they have been in some time and it’s possible they could push their way into a winning season.