A year ago, Fort Lupton guard Omar Barron divided his time between the junior-varsity and varsity programs.
“I didn’t get that much playing time last year,” said the Fort Lupton senior. “It’s more fast-paced, more hyped. There are more fans. It’s a little more aggressive than at the JV level. It’s intimidating, You really can’t think about it, or you’re not going to play well. You just play how you play.”
Barron approved of the way he’s handled the switch.
“I don’t think about how scared I am. I just play the game,” Barron said. “I’m not scared.”
This year, Barron is a full-fledged member of the varsity fraternity, and he showed why he might want to stay on the “big” team Dec. 7 against Stargate School.
Barron sank the game-winning basket with 53 seconds left in overtime to give FLHS a come-from-behind, 57-56 win over Stargate School in the opening round of the Santiago’s Shootout.
“It was a set play,” he said. “It was a motion-stop. So we pass the ball you cut,, then wait right there for a second. I was open in the middle. I was wide open. I took the shot, and it went in.”
His 3-pointer gave the Bluedevils a short-lived, five-point lead with 1:45 left in the fourth quarter. But two FLHS turnovers allowed Stargate’s Dylan Perkins and Bo LaPenna to tie the score and force the extra period.
Bryce Andrews converted a free throw half way through the overtime to give Fort Lupton a one-point lead. Stargate’s Nathaniel Roling made a basket to give the Eagles a one-point lead with a minute to play. That set the stage for Barron’s game-winner with 53 seconds left.
“It’s a good win,” said FLHS coach Jim Roedel. “We need to get over the hump and win a tight game. It’s always fun to do it early .. make mistakes and be able to come out on top? It’s always good early in the season.”
Barron led the Bluedevils in scoring with 17 points. Connor Moll had 14, and Diego Medina added 10. The Eagles’ top scorers were Roling and David Thumma, who poured in 14 points. LaPenna added 11.
“Our guys did everything we asked them to do,” said Stargate coach Jason Gray. “You’re going to win some like that, and you’re going to lose some like that. We did everything we could. These guys, regardless of wins or losses, show up and put in the work. I expect the same out of them tomorrow as I did today.”
The effort down the stretch pleased Roedel.
“We played together late,” Roedel said. “It’s growth. If you watched our first three games, we’ve gotten a little bit better, and you hope you’re peaking at the right time.”
FLHS has nine seniors on the roster this season.
“I’ve got a lot of good athletes,” Roedel said. “They love the game of basketball, and they care about it. The weaknesses right now are we have to learn to play within our offensive and defensive philosophies are and rebound the basketball. We can play fast. We can play slow. We’ve got to be able to do both. We can’t play in between. You have to pick one or the other. It’s all about tempo.”
The Bluedevils return to the home court at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 4, against Erie.
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