PUEBLO – The same sick feeling, all over again.
The silence of 15 high school basketball players was broken only by quiet sobs.
For the second year in a row, the Resurrection Christian boys basketball season ended in a nail-biting Class 2A state title game loss to Sanford at Massari Arena on the CSU-Pueblo campus.
In a battle of 2A titans and unbeatens, Sanford (27-0) beat Resurrection Christian (25-1) 63-58 in front of a standing room only, earsplittingly-loud crowd.
“It’s kind of like the same thing as last year,” RCS junior Tanner Ervin said. “Kudos to them. Sanford’s such a good team. …They’re a tough team to beat, we just couldn’t seem to get over the hump.”
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Sanford has won three-straight titles and is unbeaten in its last 73 games, including Saturday’s title game and a three-point overtime win over RCS in the 2A title game last season.
Saturday, Sanford took a lead early and was up six early in the third quarter before RCS started playing the way it knows best.
The Cougars ramped up the pace and started nailing 3-pointers, with Ervin and junior Michael Stevenson combining for four-straight at one point.
Stevenson in particular starred, doing everything possible to win the title. He finished with a game-high 31 points and six 3-pointers.
“He stepped up to play today,” Ervin said of Stevenson. “That’s my brother, and I love that kid. Thank god for him, or we wouldn’t have been in the game.”
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RCS took a narrow second-half lead, but couldn’t build a substantial advantage on Sanford as Miles Caldon answered every run.
The Sanford star hit all five shots in the third quarter and had a team-high 21.
The teams were tied at 58 late in the game.
Sanford made a bucket, and RCS had two good looks to tie or take the lead but couldn’t convert. Sanford then had a basket and free throw in the final seconds to seal the win.
“We just never got a big stop,” RCS coach Bruce Dick said. “We got some stops, but never got that big stop or made that big play.”
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For the second year in a row the Cougars left the locker room to thunderous applause from their fans. It was RCS’ last shot at a 2A title, with the Cougars moving up to 3A next year.
It was another remarkable season, but one that ended with tears of a mission incomplete.
“There’s nothing you can really say to heal any of this,” Stevenson said. “It sucks. They were the better team. We held our composure well and gave it our best shot.”
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle and at facebook.com/KevinSLytle.
NO. 1 SANFORD 63, NO. 2 RESURRECTION CHRISTIAN 58
Res. Christian 13 11 22 12 — 58
Sanford 13 14 19 17 — 63
Res. Christian — Stevenson 31, Ervin 16, Fick 5, Lahr 2, Stahla 2, Leachman 2. Totals: 20 11-14 58.
Sanford — Caldon 21, Canty 20, Peterson 8, Smith 5, Chavez 4, McDaniel 3, Faucette 1. Totals: 23 10-16 63.
3-pointers — RCS 8 (Stevenson 6, Ervin 2), S ().