LITTLETON — Boulder and Chatfield got their seasons officially underway Monday on opening night of the prep basketball regular season in Colorado.
Boulder used an offensive surge in the start of the fourth quarter to take a 78-69 victory at Chatfield Senior High School. The Panthers (1-0 record) turned a 1-point lead to start the final quarter into a double-digit midway through the fourth quarter.
“At the start of the game I was kind of nervous, but kind of came into my own and the players did that too,” Boulder’s first-year head coach Riley Grabau said. “They are just a good group of young men who compete. We showed that tonight.”
Junior Giles Schmid led the way for the Panthers with a game-high 22 points, including going 6-for-7 from 3-point range. Senior Miller Davison (13 points), along with sophomores Alex Rucker (18 points) and Drake Arthur (11 points) were huge in the final quarter as the Panthers took advantage of their size advantage inside on the Chargers (0-1).
“Just instilling confidence in these guys and making sure they can hit the shot when they shoot it,” said Grabau’s team that scored 51 points in the second half. “When you get pressed I was also taught to get a layup and that is what we did.”
Chatfield just couldn’t keep pace with Boulder in the fourth quarter. Missing eight free throws in the second half didn’t help the cause either.
“Defense is definitely our strong suit. We pride ourselves on our press,” Chatfield senior Luke Carlson said. “I think toward the end we just got tired, made mental mistakes and down the stretch our defense let us down.”
Carlson had a monster third quarter scoring 11 straight points for Chatfield. The senior finished with 20 points.
“I was just in the right place at the right time,” Carlson said of scoring 11 straight points in a span of just over three minutes to open up the second half.
Despite foul trouble for the majority of the game, senior Connor Vernon pitched in 12 points. Senior Christian Holmes came off the bench to score 13 points for the Chargers.
“We are just a little behind,” said Chatfield coach Stephen Schimpeler who started three sophomores in the Chargers’ opener. “There are some things we haven’t worked on our put in yet. That is on me. I’ve got to do a better job.”
Guard Dylan Carter led the number of sophomores that will get plenty of playing time for Chatfield this season.
“We need our seniors to step up,” Schimpeler said. “Our sophomores are going to learn by being in the fire. The seniors will help them out, but we’ll go through some growing pains for sure.”
Monday night was the head coaching debut for one of the recent prep basketball greats from Colorado. Grabau was named Boulder’s head coach just a few weeks ago, taking over for Jack Clarke.
Grabau helped guided Faith Christian Academy in Arvada to a pair of Class 3A boys basketball state titles in 2008 and 2009. He then transferred to Boulder High School where he guided the Panthers to the 5A title game in 2011.
He went on to have a successful four-year run at the University of Wyoming. Grabau was a three-year starter and finished his career with 852 points and 237 assists. He played professional in England before returning to Boulder where he was an assistant coach last year.
“It’s not hard with a game like tonight when we get a W,” Grabau said when asked if it was difficult to coach instead of being on the floor as a player.