The Heritage Christian Academy High School boys basketball team fell down but got right back up, turning to character and a healthy dose of defense and rebounding to come back for a 55-49 overtime win against Resurrection Christian Academy High School on Saturday night in the championship game of the Class 2A District 7 tournament.
“It was a great high school basketball game,” Heritage coach Kevin McGinley said.
You said it, coach.
After being down 27-12 at halftime, the Eagles responded, hitting shots and locking down on Resurrection.
The Eagles will host one of eight 2A regional tournaments at Frederick High School on Friday and Saturday.
It was a slow process to get to that point, though.
“We did have a really slow first half,” McGinley said. “I can’t remember the last time we scored just 12 points in a half.”
Resurrection (17-5) shot just 5-of-12 from the free-throw line and couldn’t hit the biggest shots late in the game.
Heritage (21-1) felt the Cougars’ pain in the first half. At halftime, McGinley said the Eagles talked about character.
“Sayin’, ‘Hey, those baskets we didn’t hit in the first half, we’re going to make in the second,'” McGinley said.
Still, the Eagles trailed the Cougars by 10 going into the fourth quarter.
“To hold them to seven and score 17, that’s just a testament to our defense and rebounding in that second half,” McGinley said.
And a healthy dose of character.
GRAND JUNCTION 49, FORT COLLINS 37 —The Fort Collins High School boys basketball team found the weather quite chilly on the other side of the Rockies, falling to Grand Junction on a terrible shooting night.
No. 5 Fort Collins (15-10) shot just 27 percent from the field, and 24 percent from the 3-point arc en route to a Class 5A State Basketball Championships second-round loss.
Grand Junction moves on to face No. 1 Regis Jesuit (20-4), which topped Boulder 56-52 Saturday.
No. 4 Grand Junction (18-5) started quickly, taking a 32-17 lead at halftime. Despite solid defense in the second half, Fort Collins just couldn’t get going offensively.
“We got off to a poor start,” Lambkins coach Monty Alcaraz said. “We cut it to five with about 4 minutes to go (in the game). Just too many deficiencies on the offensive end.”
Toby Van Ry led the Lambkins with 11 points as leading scorer Ryan French was limited to six points on 3-of-10 shooting.
The Lambkins had a goal of placing in the Top 3 of the 5A Front Range League this year and although they didn’t quite get there – finishing fourth – Alcaraz still said it was a good season.
“We had great kids,” Alcaraz said. “Great academically, leaders in the school. They were great to be around all year.”
HIGHLAND 38, LIBERTY COMMON 29 — The Liberty Common Eagles struggled to score and therefore couldn’t close the gap against stingy Highland defense in the 2A District 7 Championships, taking second place at the tournament and securing a regional bid in the process.
The Eagles, who are 13-9 and winners of eight of their past 10 games, will join 31 other 2A teams in the regional tournament Friday and Saturday and hope to take first there to keep playing into the eight-team state tournament.
Highland (12-10) didn’t allow Liberty any easy shots in this one.
“We just really struggled,” Liberty coach Jesse Morrill said. “It was a six to eight point game most of the game. We just had such a hard time scoring. They didn’t give us many open looks.”
The Eagles got to within six points with 4 minutes left in the game but couldn’t get closer.
“Their team was poised all the way through,” Morrill said.
Sophomores Hannah Ellis (11 points) and Molly Gillis (10) led the way for the Eagles offensively.
Still, Morrill and the Eagles will see where regional play takes them tomorrow and he said he’s plenty proud of his young squad already.
“Our girls have played great,” he said. “We started the year with some injuries. To beat Heritage twice was a real accomplishment for us. This is our first year in CHSAA and the Mile High League.”
MESA RIDGE 59, WINDSOR 38
— After a fantastic season in which No. 3 Windsor reeled off 15-straight wins, the Wizards finally dropped their first game in 2013, losing in the Sweet 16 to Mesa Ridge.
“They’re just a good ball club,” Windsor coach Gary Perko said of Mesa Ridge.
The second-seeded Grizzlies have yet to taste defeat with their 25-0 record and they used superior speed and quickness to frustrate Windsor (21-4).
Windsor sophomore Brooke Pemberton scored a game-high 23 points inside.
It wasn’t enough to counter the Grizzlies’ balanced attack, which featured seven players with six or more points.
Windsor had just five score, and two of those had one point apiece.
Still, Perko said he was happy with the Wizards’ season.
“When you go 21-4, no matter who you are, that’s a good season,” he said.
DAYSPRING CHRISTIAN 54, HERITAGE CHRISTIAN 44 — Heritage Christian lost out on third place at the 2A District 7 Championships but punched its ticket to a regional tournament thanks to a Top 5 finish.
If not for a slow start, Heritage may have grabbed a ticket with a higher seed, for Heritage trailed Dayspring by 20 points at points in the first half.
“Right before the second half, Mariah Green got a steal and a 3-pointer,” a Heritage assistant said. “That gave us some momentum.”
That and a bit of halftime corrections, for Dayspring had its way in the paint and on the boards in the first half.
That translated to a fresh start for Heritage, which had a monster third quarter, tying the game at one point.
However, Heritage couldn’t fully climb over the hump as Dayspring pulled away from there.
Green led all scorers with 20 points, securing a double-double with 11 rebounds as well. Green also had six steals. Micaela Bush had six steals as well, pairing those nicely with nine boards and 10 points.
Heritage starts regional play Friday.