Fruita Monument routs Longmont in season opener

Fruita Monument routs Longmont in season opener

Fruita Monument’s Alex Padget scores over Longmont’s Jordan Johnson on Thursday night during the Wildcats’ 62-33 victory in the Warrior Challenge. Fruita Monument allowed only 11 points in the second half.

Expectations aren’t always high for the first game of the year in any sport.

Besides the turnover in players, teams simply haven’t been in a game situation for a prolonged amount of time.

But the Fruita Monument High School boys basketball team had little problem in its first game back, a 62-33 win against Longmont in the Warrior Challenge at Central High School.

The Wildcats not only found their offensive rhythm early in the game, but were able to play tight defense and limited the Trojans to only 11 points in the second half.

“You always go out with a few pregame jitters but as the game goes on you get the feel of the game a little more and settle in a little bit,” said guard Alex Padget.

Padget, who finished second on the team with 20 points, provided an early offensive spark for Fruita.

Early in the game Padget had no problem taking fouls, including one outside the 3-point line. As a result, he went 4 for 6 at the free-throw line in the first quarter. He had the final six points of the quarter and helped give his team a 14-8 lead at the break.

Although Longmont opened the second quarter with a layup by Josh Cogdill to narrow the lead to 14-10, Padget hit Fruita’s only 3-pointer of the half.

Longmont then hit two straight shots to make it 17-14.

Padget then came through again with a short bucket to keep it from getting too close. Two free throws from Drew Bridges and two more from Padget made the game 23-14.

From there, the defense took over and never let Longmont get closer than six points. By halftime, Fruita held a 34-22 lead.

In the second half, the Wildcats played their high-pressure defense well enough to limit Longmont’s looks to outside shots. The only basket the Trojans scored was a layup by post player Marcus Johnson midway through the quarter.

Longmont’s only other offense until the final two minutes of the fourth quarter was a layup by Reilly Mau.

“We’ve worked on defense all week, all this summer,” Padget said. “That’s something the coaches have stressed.”

In the final two minutes of the game, Longmont scored seven more points.

Drew Bridges was contained early, but recovered to lead Fruita with 26 points. It wasn’t until the second half that he was consistently able to get the ball low and inside.

“I really felt like he was patient,” Fruita coach Dave Fox said. “He didn’t really try to force anything early.”

Fox also was pleased with Bridges’ defense, which resulted in numerous turnovers that help set up the offense.

“He has great anticipation,” he said. “I don’t know how many steals he had but he had a lot of steals on the defensive end just by anticipating passes. You know, he’s a shortstop playing basketball, so that’s the way he plays.”


UP NEXT: Fruita Monument vs. Fountain-Fort Carson, 8:30 p.m. today


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