There must have been something in that locker-room Gatorade at halftime, for when Gabby Smith and the Fossil Ridge girls basketball team came out for the second half, they turned out the lights on Fort Collins.
The third quarter proved to be the difference as the Sabercats outlasted Fort Collins 55-46 on Tuesday night at the Sabercats’ gym.
“Third quarter, we knew had it in the bag,” Smith said. “We just needed to stay focused and get easy shots.”
Smith scored 11 of her 15 points in the third quarter, helpint Fossil Ridge (16-6, 10-5 FRL) outscore the Lambkins 19-12 after already holding a four-point halftime lead.
Fort Collins (14-8, 10-5) had its six-game winning streak snapped but it had nothing to do with the play of Nicole Lange. The senior center was able to capitalize nearly every time she touched the ball, scoring 31 points to go along with 11 rebounds.
“She definitely is a really good player,” Smith said. “We tried to front her this game and have help-side behind but she could still get it and make the easy baskets.”
Lange shot 11-of-14 from the field but didn’t get a ton of help from her teammates.
“We had a lot of turnovers and we weren’t really hot from the 3-point line,” Lange said.
The Lambkins went 0-of-12 from the 3-point arc. And though they kept shooting when they were open, when they wanted to score, the Lambkins seemed to have just one option at times.
The Sabercats had no such trouble, with different girls stepping up a different times. Smith had her 11 in the third quarter, but her teammates picked it up in the first when she went 0-for-4 from the field. Four Sabercats players had four or more rebounds and they all played solid defense, forcing 24 Fort Collins turnovers in a rough, all-city rivalry game which also featured 31 fouls.
“Oh yeah,” Fort Collins coach Kyle Tregoning said, when asked if the city-on-city matchup yields more violence. “These games, they’re a battle; records don’t matter, they got out the window. Being 2 miles away from eachother, it’s a pretty good rivalry right here.”
The win helps the Sabercats stay at arm’s length from the Lambkins at third in the FRL standings while Fort Collins will look to bounce back with another all-city game against Rocky Mountain on Thursday.
Tyler Silvy covers prep sports for The Coloradoan. Reach him via email at TylerSilvy@coloradoan.com or by phone at (970) 589-3829. Connect with him on social media at Facebook.com/coloradoan.com or @TylerSilvy on Twitter.