From the start of the season, Lewis-Palmer and Longmont have been on a collision course to me it the state finals. The Rangers and Trojans have dominated the 4A field this season as both teams enter the game undefeated. Lewis-Palmer last lost? Last seasons championship game against Longmont. Last time the Trojans felt the bitter sting of defeat? February 17, 2018, at home to Skyline. Since then Longmont is 32-0.
The Rangers haven’t been tested this season as they handily took care of 5A finalist Chaparral in the first game back from Christmas break. The Rangers also haven’t even sniffed an overtime game. Lewis-Palmer has won their four state tournament games by an average of 33 ppg game and two mercy-rule games. To say that the Rangers have been dominate would be an understatement.
Longmont’s regular was almost as impressive as Lewis-Palmers but the Trojans did have that one overtime win. The road to the finals has been a little bumpier as well. Taken to the brink by Harrison and Pueblo East pushed the Trojans to the final minute but the Trojans never blinked. Longmont always has someone hit the big shot.
As for tonight’s game, Lewis-Palmer probably comes in as the favorite. They are a difficult matchup for Longmont. The Rangers have a size advantage, they are little deeper, and maybe a tad faster than the Trojans. Longmont though might be more versatile with their bigs able to stretch the floor.
Tempo and turnovers will be key in this game. The Rangers are a great passing team and carve up presses. Longmont can’t afford to press the Rangers too much or it will get ugly. The Rangers thrive in transition with Noah Baca and Matthew Ragsdale running the show. The Trojans will need to limit turnovers and not give the Rangers easy open looks. A slower pace could help the Trojans but that might give Ranger senior Joel Scott better looks in the paint.
The Rangers will want to make someone else other than Brady Renck handle the ball. Renck is the maestro of the Longmont attack. If the Rangers can make it a long day for him the Trojans could be in trouble. However, is Renck is allowed to weave through the Rangers defense he will find the open man. The Rangers will also want to keep Beck Page and Calvin Seamons off the glass.
Another thing that plays in Longmont’s favor, they have done something that hasn’t been done in a year..beat LP. But this Lewis-Plamer team is different and will be a hard to beat.