Fruita’s Nankervis applying football knowledge to basketball
Brett Nankervis knows how to read an opponent.
As a quarterback for the Fruita Monument High School football team, he studied and read defenses on a daily basis.
Saturday, the senior guard showed those skills come in handy on the basketball court as well.
Nankervis had three steals and turned them into six of his team-high 12 points to lead the Wildcats to a 60-41 victory over Horizon in the Warrior Challenge at Central High School. Scott Miller and Mike Perry each had 10.
“The kids were hungry for a win,” Fruita coach Dave Fox said. “We let one get away Friday and we had a chance to compete with Bear Creek. We’re getting better each game.”
Nankervis intercepted a Horizon pass midway through the second quarter, was fouled and hit two free throws to give the Wildcats a 15-14 lead.
“It comes natural,” Nankervis said. “I did what I had to do.
“They swung it (around the perimeter) the whole game. I knew it was coming. I anticipated it and went for it.”
Later in the quarter, he stole another pass and scored for a 25-20 lead.
“Brett set the tone for us,” Fox said. “He was reading them like a quarterback. He played well today.”
The Wildcats finished the first half with an 8-0 run to build a 28-20 halftime lead and without a single point from their leading returning scorer this season, Alex Mende. He finished with four points, all in the third quarter.
“Alex said he ate eggs (Saturday) morning,” Fox said. “I told him next time eat granola.”
Fruita Monument (1-2) built on its momentum to start the second half.
“(Friday) we came out flat in the third quarter,” Nankervis said. “We needed to come out and get after it. It set the tone for the rest of the game.
“It was hard work. “Everybody played harder. That’s how we’ll win games, play defense, get steals and turn them into points.”
It started with Nankervis stealing another pass and scoring for a 30-20 lead to ignite an 8-0 run, 16-0 going back to the end of the second quarter. That pushed Fruita’s lead to 16, 36-20.
“We played good defense,” Fox said. “We got some turnovers and converted them into points.
“We were more aggressive (in the second half). We took it up a notch.”
Horizon ended its scoreless drought with a 3-pointer, but Fruita came back with a Perry 3-pointer. Every time the Hawks scored, Fruita seemed to have an answer.
The defense, in turn, led to more productive offense.
The Wildcats, who were held to nine points in the first quarter, averaged 17 points a quarter in the other three quarters.