ERIE — Erie junior Maddie Hartel and Legacy sophomore Olivia Mortensen are a product of a new generation of basketball in Colorado.

Their games don’t appear at all similar at first glance, though they’re both listed at shooting guard.

Hartel charged the basket on a downhill tilt Friday night, scoring in hoards. Mortensen, the pass-first standout of the Lightning, rarely forced things in favor of the “right basketball play”.

At Erie High School, Hartel scored 21 points and finished 10 for 10 from the free throw line as the Tigers beat Legacy 47-39, snapping a five-game skid. Mortensen countered with 12 points but filled the stat sheet with assists, rebounds and blocks.

“We go as Maddie goes,” said first-year Erie coach Tyler Cerveny, who was previously at Skyline with the boys team. “That goes for leadership, talking and scoring. And I’m just excited I have her for another year after this.”

The junior flew by a pair of defenders in the last three minutes for a contested layup to push the lead to 35-32, the start of a 6-0 run. Then in the final 30 seconds, she calmly swished four straight from the strike to seal things.

“I’ve watched a lot of college basketball for a lot of years and kind of took bits and pieces from people’s games,” Hartel said. “And I’m like I want to be as good as this person at shooting. I want to be as good as this person at dribbling or driving.”

ERIE: Legacy’s Olivia Mortensen dribbles with pressure from an Erie defender Friday, January 20, 2023 (Brent W. New/

Among them are on the CU women’s basketball team. She raved about Frida Formann’s knockdown shooting and the driving ability of Jaylyn Sherrod. She wants both those skills and more.

“I don’t want to be — my dad calls it a ‘one-trick pony’,” she grinned.

Mortensen led a Lightning team that had just five varsity players and a JV bench, according to coach Jody Welch.

Throughout the night, the sophomore directed the offense and defense like a chess board. She was at the center of the action a lot, but rarely forced her own shot.

“First thing that comes to mind when I think of Liv is she’s unselfish,” Welch said. “She has an extremely high basketball IQ and she’s a competitor and a team player first, which I love.”

“Are there times I wish she’d shoot more? Yeah,” Welch added. “But at the same time, we’ve got to figure out, if they take her shot away, we have to have people step up and make some shots. And that’s on me as a coach on how to get these other players involved.”

Juliet Slater added eight points and Mia Welty had another six for the Tigers (4-8, 1-3 Class 6A Front Range League), who got the victory after falling by one to Horizon in their last game.

“This thing is a marathon for us,” Cerveny said. “New system, new coach, 6A, tough schedule and we’ve been there every night. We tell them that the wins are coming.”

Madison Gage led the Lightning (4-9, 2-2) with 13 points and Sierra Zarecki had nine. Legacy lost three starters at the beginning of the season and were missing two more varsity players on Friday.

It pushes forward despite the adversity.

“Honestly, we just try to bring each other up,” Mortensen said. “At practice, we try to have fun but we really try to put the work in. We just learn to work together because we need to with such a small team this year.”

Legacy is at Broomfield Saturday. Erie is at Poudre.

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Brent W. New
2023-01-21 04:42:56
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