ARVADA — Columbine’s boys basketball team has suddenly become the kryptonite for Class 5A Jeffco teams with winning streaks.
The Rebels ended Arvada West’s 3-game winning streak Wednesday night on the Wildcats’ home court with a 50-42 victory. The win came on the heels of Columbine (6-8, 3-2 in 5A Jeffco League) handing conference-leading Bear Creek (8-4, 4-1) its first conference loss of the season Jan. 13.
“After taking two of the top Jeffco League teams down we’re are just going to try to build on this,” Columbine sophomore Luke O’Brien said after the second straight road victory for the Rebels.
O’Brien, who had 40 points against Bear Creek, had another strong game with a game-high 22 points. The sophomore sealed the victory in the fourth quarter going 8-for-8 from the free-throw line.
“That is a good weapon to have,” Columbine coach Clay Thielking said of O’Brien’s sharp free-throw shooting. “Our guys are starting to learn how to get (O’Brien) the ball when we are protecting a lead.”
A-West (8-6, 3-2) did make a couple of runs in the fourth quarter to cut the Rebels’ double-digit lead. Junior Josh Rogers poured in 18 points after halftime to give the Wildcats a chance to keep A-West’s winning streak going.
Wildcat senior Isaiah Brewer scored 10 of A-West’s 13 points in the first half, but Brewer fouled out with 3:27 left in the fourth quarter. He finished with 12 points.
Columbine was able to keep A-West at bay in the final minutes to hang on for the victory.
“Every win is big. There are so many games left in the league. It’s going to be a grind,” Thielking said. “I’m just proud of the fight and the effort that our kids put forth. It wasn’t always pretty, but the effort makes up for a lot of mistakes.”
Junior Cody Ramming pitched in nine points and sophomore Justin Lohrenz added six points for the Rebels, who started the season 1-4. Columbine is right in the mix of the already jumbled conference race.
“It’s going to be a battle,” O’Brien said of 5A Jeffco. “The league champion could have four or five league losses.”
All eight 5A Jeffco teams had league games Wednesday night. There is still nine conference games left for each team that is clawing through the wild 5A Jeffco where the league championship might not be decided until the final league games in mid-February.
“Anything can happen on any night,” Thielking said of the 5A Jeffco League this season. “The key is to stay focused and not get too high or too low.”
The Rebels stay on the road when they face Ralston Valley at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19. The Mustangs (3-10, 0-5) are desperate for the conference win.
In front of the Wildcats is a rivalry showdown with Pomona (6-7, 2-3) at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19.