ARVADA — A nice 66-57 victory for Arvada West’s boys basketball team over Boulder put the Wildcats in a holiday mood Tuesday night.

“This was a huge game for us,” A-West junior Jordan Stremel said after the home win before the Winter Break. “We struggled against Boulder during the summer. We had a loss against them the same time last year going into the break. We needed this one.”

Stremel was instrumental in the victory pouring in a game-high 21 points, including 10 points in the fourth quarter to close the deal for second straight win for A-West (6-3 record). Boulder (4-2) held a 10-8 lead in the first quarter, but the Wildcats outscored the Panthers 21-8 in the second quarter to grab a double-digit lead at halftime.

Eight different A-West players scored in the pivotal second quarter.

“We had some guys make some key shots,” Stremel said of the Wildcats’ having 11 different players make it into the box score Tuesday night. “We played together. Our big emphasis all season has been togetherness. Every Monday we have a little meeting where we talk about how we can get better as a team, not just physically but mentality.”

Sophomore Keegan Balistreri was the only other Wildcat in double-digit points with a cool dozen. Juniors Dane Reed and Mason Lusche both had 6 points as every A-West player who touched the floor got involved in the victory.

Photo by Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Public Schools

“I’ve preached that from the first day that I took over. Scoring is going to come from whatever opportunity comes,” A-West coach Danny Vais said. “That is why basketball is such a great game. There is a different variable that is happening every time down the floor.”

Defensively, A-West’s team defense held Boulder senior Kyle Blauch to 10 points. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Blauch came in averaging 23.6 points per game.

“It is going back to my roots and how I learned how basketball from Eddie (Reeves),” Vais said of his former high school basketball coach. “All those teams that we had here weren’t super big or super physical, but you use our athleticism and positioning.”

Eddie Reeves was an A-West teacher and boys basketball coach. Reeves passed away from cancer at the age of 44 in 2010. Reeves guided A-West to the Class 5A semifinals of the state tournament in 2001 with Vais as his all-state guard.

“We talk about it all the time, relentless pursuit of the basketball,” Vais said. “It is one of those situations where we are a smaller team, but we have physical guards that once the ball gets into their hands it’s hard to get it out.”

A-West’s team defense limited Boulder to just 34 points through three quarters Tuesday night. The Panthers did get it going offensively behind sophomore Lake Smith (15 points), junior Cole Morrow (12 points) and senior Riley Stein (12 points in the fourth quarter.

However, A-West went 10-for-12 from the free-throw line in the final quarter to seal the win.

“Boulder is a really, really good team,” said Vais after A-West won its fourth game over the past 11 days.

A-West returns to the court against Fort Collins on Jan. 3 on the Wildcats’ home court. The Lambkins (4-3) will come into the game in a few weeks on a 3-game winning streak.