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Boys basketball: Skyline stuns Frederick in thriller

Jan. 16—LONGMONT — Bob Olds' influence as head coach for Skyline boys basketball continues to yield slow-growing but yet promising results. On Tuesday night, in their own gym, the Falcons defeated visiting Frederick with a nail-biting 71-65 final in a fast-paced, high-intensity contest against a team that beat them by 45 points last year.

The Falcons displayed a heightened basketball IQ and complete lack of timidity in attacking the glass and the basket, and consistently kept Frederick guessing on both ends of the floor. The Golden Eagles, on the other hand, are still doing a little bit of soul-searching after losing key seniors last year, namely leading scorer Luke Justice.

"We have the majority of the guys back, so they know what I expect and they know how to compete during games. They competed their butts off for four quarters and they were rewarded with a dub," Olds said. "Typically, the Skyline mantra has been that when things get tough, we kind of shut down. Tonight was one of those games where maybe you turn that corner. Maybe we realize that, yes, we do belong here."

When just four points separated the birds of prey late, the Falcons made a steal and found senior point guard Andy Erives, who drained a 3-point dagger as the clock read just 1 minute, 56 seconds left. He pounded the final two nails in the coffin with a pair of free throws just 30 seconds later.

The Golden Eagles, meanwhile, missed long shot after long shot, each one clanking off the rim. The contest, as a whole, signified a major shift in momentum for a Skyline team that entered it with just three wins to its name this year.

Now, it sits at 4-6, securing its second win in the Longs Peak League (2-3).

"It was the best feeling ever. It was my most important shot of my high school career so far," Erives said. "Fourth quarter, got the steal, pulled up the elbow 3, hit it. My brothers needed it. It was a push for us to raise the bar and come out on top. We've been struggling a lot with adversity in games, where we can't come on top in short games."

The two teams came out firing on all cylinders right out of the gate, and seemed to increase velocity with each passing basket. The 39-39 score at the half only served to further illustrate the well-matched play that defined much of the first 16 minutes.

A one-man show, that of senior small forward Talan Starcevich, helped propel the Falcons to a 46-41 advantage in the opening minutes of the second half. From there, his teammates shared the scoring responsibility well, as eight players in all got on the board.

Starcevich led the field with 27 points, followed by Erives' 12. Frederick senior shooting guard JJ Strojinc took control for the Golden Eagles, contributing 17 points, but was closely followed by the 15 points that senior small forward Ian Buffington put up, mostly from downtown.

"We just need to figure it out," Strojinc said. "The biggest block, I'd say, is just inexperience. We need to be more locked in on practice, everything. We can't be out there not (making) plays and all that."

The Golden Eagles fell to 6-6 (5-2 LPL) with the loss and will look to bounce back when they host Thompson Valley on Thursday night.