Foothill’s boys basketball team hadn’t lost to a Nevada school heading into play Wednesday night.
But the Falcons were no match for Coronado’s trapping defense or the Cougars’ inside duo of Will Weems and Kennedy Koehler.
Fourth-ranked Foothill turned the ball over 21 times, and Weems and Koehler each scored 22 points as the No. 5 Cougars claimed an 84-61 road win to take over first place in the Southeast League.
“It really created turnovers,” Coronado guard Trey Hurlburt said of the trapping defense. “We took the middle away, and we also trapped the baseline as well.”
Foothill (16-4, 3-1 Southeast) had no answer for the trap in the third quarter, and the Cougars (9-7, 4-0) opened the second half on a 12-0 run to pull away.
“We started the game kind of slow, but we picked it up offensively and defensively,” Hurlburt said. “When we create turnovers, we get in offensive mode.”
Coronado forced six third-quarter turnovers, helping the Cougars extend a 34-26 halftime lead to 57-42 at the end of the third quarter.
“They were scrappier in the first half, we just scored more,” Coronado coach Jeff Kaufman said of Foothill. “And then we were scrappier in the second half, and that’s what put us over the edge.”
That and the sharp shooting of Hurlburt, who had 18 of his 20 points after halftime. Twice Hurlburt answered Foothill buckets with a 3-pointer to keep the Falcons from gaining momentum.
The 6-foot-8-inch, 255-pound Weems had his way inside against Foothill, going 9-for-11 from the field. He added 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.
“It’s real simple, he is a skilled big man,” Kaufman said. “And people don’t see skilled big men with great footwork, with blocking out, with rebounding, with playing defense, and that’s what he is. He’s a hard kid to stop.”
The 6-7 Koehler also had 11 rebounds for the Cougars, who have lost six games to out-of-state teams, including two in overtime.
“Our schedule has been really tough,” Hurlburt said. “We’ve lost a couple games, but it’s still made us better over time. And it’s going to help us in the league and throughout the playoffs.”
Mauricio Smith had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Marvin Coleman added 19 points and four assists for Foothill.