A huge second half gave Fossil Ridge High School’s boys basketball team a big victory Saturday night.
The SaberCats erased a double-digit halftime deficit and came back to beat visiting Highlands Ranch 53-44.
It was a matchup between the preseason Nos. 8 and 9 teams in the Class 5A coaches’ poll by The Denver Post. Fossil Ridge, No. 8, was coming off a loss a week earlier to Denver South.
“Time will tell, but right now this is huge for us,” Fossil Ridge coach Matt Johannsen said. “We were kind of questioning ourselves after that loss, myself included.
“We needed to get back on the right side of things and beating a good team like Highlands Ranch can help us do that.”
The SaberCats (3-1) struggled in the first half, only scoring 13 points and trailed 24-13 at the break. They put together a 40-point second half, finally taking the lead on a pair of free throws by Evan Smith with about two minutes remaining in the third quarter. Smith gave his team the lead for good with a basket near the end of the quarter.
Smith and senior Cody McCoy each scored 17 points for the SaberCats, who made six 3-pointers in the win.
“We came out not executing and I can’t put my finger on why,” Johannsen said. “We came back and had a pretty good second half. I told the kids we need to do what we do.”
Fossil Ridge once again will host one of the state’s top team in its next game, facing No. 2 grandview at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
THOMPSON VALLEY 82, WINDSOR 78 — At Windsor, throughout the second half the Wizards kept getting close, even taking a lead in the third quarter, but every time Windsor was right with Thompson Valley, the Eagles would hit a big shot.
“The kids battled, they played hard,” Windsor coach Dustin Duncan said. “They fought to get back in it. I wouldn’t question our effort at all. We would get a couple stops and get up one or two and they would come down and hit a big 3.”
In addition to hitting big shots on its way to a win in the championship game of the Northern Colorado Basketball Classic at Windsor High School, Thompson Valley racked up points at the line.
Windsor had 28 team fouls compared to 18 for Thompson Valley, and the Eagles hit 30 of 33 free throw attempts. Windsor was led by three players over 20 points. Dylan Ochsner had 24; Alex Baldwin 21, and Dalton Walker had 20.
POUDRE 48, MEAD 34 — At Lafayette, the Impalas pulled away from a three-point halftime lead and easily won the fifth-place game at the Boulder Valley Invitational at Centaurus High School.
Trent McFall made three 3-pointers and led Poudre with 13 points. Lake Reed added nine-points and Sawyer Finley seven for the Impalas (2-2).
GRAND JUNCTION 46, ROCKY MOUNTAIN 32 — At Highlands Ranch, the Lobos were held to nine first-half points and lost the fifth-place game at the Tip-Off Classic hosted by ThunderRidge High School.
Rocky (2-4) trailed by 10 points at halftime and by 16 heading into the fourth quarter. No individual stats were reported.
CHEYENNE EAST (Wyo.) 69, WINDSOR 49 — At Windsor, Cheyenne East used an aggressive defensive track and had lots of dangerous shooters that helped propel it to a 20-point win in the championship game of the Northern Colorado Basketball Classic at Windsor High School.
A night after breaking the school record for points in a game with 34, Windsor’s Brooke Pemberton carried the team with 22 on Saturday. Alysa Manicone added 13.
LIBERTY COMMON 28, LYONS 20 — At Ault, sophomore Rachel Tralmer scored a team-high 13 points to lead Liberty Common to a win at the Highland tournament.
The Eagles (2-2) also got six points and six rebounds from Kati Werst.
ANGELS INVITATIONAL — At Denver, Fossil Ridge placed 11th out of 14 teams at the Angels Invitational, which was won by Chaparral.
SaberCats coach Carolyn Fries said the team took only 16 swimmers, many of the team’s top swimmers competing at club events this weekend.
Emily Oliver had Fossil Ridge’s top finish, placing fourth in the 200 yard freestyle in 2:07.33.
ROOSEVELT INVITATIONAL — At Johnstown, the Lobos captured three individual championships and won the team title in the 12-team event.
Rocky Mountain scored 169.5 points to edge Thompson Valley (163) for the team title.
Logan Newman (113 pounds), Danny Clark (145) and Tony Martinez (285) all went unbeaten and won individuals championships.
Martinez beat Platte Valley’s Raul Rios, the Class 3A state champion last season, 7-3 to win the title at heavyweight.