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It took Highlands Ranch more than two minutes to score its first points in the Continental League opener against visiting Douglas County on Jan. 13, but once the Falcons started scoring, there was little doubt about the outcome.Highlands Ranch, ranked third in the Class 5A CHSAANow.com poll with a young team with only one senior on the roster, rolled to a 90-37 victory over the Huskies after falling behind 4-0 in the first 2:04 of the game.The 53-point win improved Highland Ranch's overall record to 12-2 while the Huskies fell to 2-11 on the season.“We're doing pretty good right now, but we're a young team and need to develop,” Highlands Ranch guard Tommi Olson said.Key momentsHighlands Ranch forced turnover after turnover and ran off a 24-2 run to start the second period to grab a 40-13 lead and turn the game into a runaway.The Falcons' aggressive defense forced Douglas County into 37 turnovers.Key players/statisticsOlson, a 5-foot-6 junior, led four Highlands Ranch players in double figures with 18 points. Sophomore Kasey Neubert had 18 points, while sophomores Courtney Humbarger and Autumn Watts each finished with 15 points.Senior Sylar Backstrom scored 18 points for the Huskies and senior Sierra Stephan contributed eight pointsThey said it“We're progressing every day and being good teammates to each other and starting to grasp the concepts we're trying to teach them,” Ranch coach Caryn Jarocki said. “It is starting to come out in games. They really have been buying into the system and each other.”Defense and forcing turnovers like the team did against Douglas County is part of the Falcons' system.“When we play like that, it is really inspiring to us,” Jarocki said. “It gets us going, we get easier stuff on offense, more open shots and that helps. This game did do us some good because we started running the floor more, passing the ball better to each other. We've played some really tough games up until this point. We were ready for that and now we were ready for this too.”Douglas County coach Todd Dickson admires the Falcons' style.“Eventually, we want to get where Highlands Ranch is," Dickson said. "It isn't going to happen overnight.”The lopsided victory could be beneficial for the Falcons in more than just the win column.“A game like this helps us grow mentally because we know now that we have to start off fast because any team can come out and match us,” Olson said.Going forwardHighlands Ranch goes to Legend on Jan. 19 for a Continental League game while Douglas County hosts Regis Jesuit the same night.
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