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Fort Lupton High School’s boys basketball team is in the class 3A regional round of playoffs next week. But it came with a struggle, especially in the first half.

Englewood held Fort Lupton to two points in the first quarter and, at one time, enjoyed a 12-point lead. But the Bluedevils straightened things out and beat the Pirates 57-48 in the district tournament semifinals of the Colorado/Confluence League.

“We just played as a team. We moved the ball, knocked down our shots,” said Maddax Farrer, who led the Bluedevils with 14 points. Nine of them came in the fourth quarter. “We rebounded pretty well. The first quarter was not ours. We turned it up. We had a little talk after the first quarter, and we knew we had to turn it up.”

FLHS coach Jim Roedel said better defense played a part in the comeback.

“It was confidence, being able to keep them out of the paint,” he said. “And then knock down shots. It was jitters. You’re at home. It’s the district tournament. We played them before and didn’t play well, so you’re going to come out a little antsy. We didn’t execute very well. We didn’t get in ours sets until we settled down.”

FLHS took its first lead early in the third quarter. Bryce Andrews made five free throws in the span of a minute to build some separation against the Pirates. EHS cut the gap to one by the end of the third period. But a pair of 3-pointers from Farrar made things easier for the Bluedevils down the stretch.

“That was a team effort,” said Andrews, who finished with 12 points. “That was a beautiful game. We came together. It’s not just one guy. It’s the players, the coaches. It’s the crowd. We’re one whole unit. We got in the huddle and we said, ‘We’re a family.’ The first quarter, we were playing individual ball.”

“This team isn’t a team that always starts fast,” Roedel said. “They understand how to play from behind. One quarter isn’t going to define the game. The best thing I saw was resolve.”

“I’m glad I shot well. But I’m glad we all shot well. I’m glad we moved the ball and found open guys,” Farrar said. “We won the game. That’s a tough team (Englewood won the Colorado League matchup earlier in the season). This one means a lot.”

“It’s a carryover. We’re going to make a deep run. We’ve got the squad for it,” Andrews said. “Coach believes in us. It’s going to be a good thing.”

Farrar was happy with the way the Bluedevils picked up the win.

“If we won, we’d be happy. But the way we won  is vocal. it leaves a mark.”  Farrar said. “It’s a carryover for next week.”

Roedel was happy too.

“Any way to win is a win. it’s hard to judge one over the other,” Roedel said. “Knowing you have the ability to not have everything go your way teaches kids resolve, that you have to work extremely hard to win.”