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Lewis-Palmer boys start league by ending Discovery Canyon winning streak
Rangers defense forces 26 turnovers
Two straight losses heading into the holiday break didn’t sit well with Lewis-Palmer. So the Rangers started a new streak by emphatically ending another.
Justin Smith led all scorers with 17 points, Chase Stone added 14, and the Lewis-Palmer defense forced 26 turnovers Tuesday, as the Rangers (8-2, 1-0 Pikes Peak Athletic Conference) opened up league play with a 66-37 road win over Discovery Canyon, ending the Thunder’s eight-game winning streak.
“Losing the last two heading into break, we learned a lot,” Smith said. “So we went back to work and really worked hard this week in practice. We wanted to come out strong and bring a lot of energy and passion.”
Discovery Canyon (8-1, 1-1) hung with the defending 4A state champs early, trimming the deficit to 18-15 with 6:09 left in the second quarter after an Andy Stauffer 3-pointer from the left corner. But after that, the Thunder were outscored 16-2 and looked up at a 34-17 hole that only got bigger in the second half.
The Thunder trailed by as many as 30 in the second half.
“I think we underestimated what they were capable of,” said Thunder guard Brandon Nachbar, who was limited to just five points, 14 below his season average. “I guess we weren’t ready to play. We didn’t handle the ball well and didn’t handle the pressure the way we wanted to.”
Lewis-Palmer held an offense that had scored at least 70 points in six of its first eight games to its lowest output by far. Discovery Canyon entered Tuesday’s game averaging 74.5 points. It got halfway there against a Rangers defense that held an opponent to 40 points or fewer for the third time this season.
“We take a lot of pride in our defenses,” Lewis-Palmer senior Tyler Owens said. “As a team, we start with defense first. If we’re getting stops on defense, our offense will come."
The Rangers stretched the lead to 46-24 by the end of the third quarter and kept the Thunder in single digits in the first three quarters.
Stauffer led Discovery Canyon with 13 points, his team’s only double-digit scorer.
“Lewis-Palmer is a good team, and we didn’t play well,” Thunder coach John Paul Geniesse said. “We’ve seen speed all season, but we danced with the pressure as opposed to attacking the pressure. It just didn’t work.”
Geniesse kept things in perspective.
“It’s just one game,” he said. “We had a good game plan in what we wanted to do, but we didn’t successfully do that. We play Falcon on Friday and Elizabeth on Saturday, so we don’t have time to feel bad about ourselves.”