DENVER — Bayfield's Ryan Phelps struggled from the field in an otherwise standout performance on Thursday evening.
He found the net when needed, too.
The red-headed bruiser had 10 points, 16 rebounds and five emphatic blocks, helping the No. 7 Wolverines beat No. 2 Alamosa 43-38 in the Class 3A state quarterfinals.
He saved his best for last.
Clinging to a 40-38 lead in the final 35 seconds, Phelps came up with a steal, a defensive board and hit three free throws to hold off the Mean Moose. It was the kind of clutch performance that allowed the senior and his coach to look past his 2-for-13 shooting.
“We focus on defense and rebounding first in our program tonight, and he epitomizes that,” Bayfield coach Jeff Lehnus said. “He may not have scored many points tonight, but he did everything else. And then he made those clutch points.”
Hayden Farmer had 13 points and Keyon Prior and Dax Snooks each had eight for the Wolverines, who shot just 31 percent in the win. Ry Adams had a game-high 16 for the Mean Moose.
It was the fourth meeting of the season between the Intermountain League rivals — and it went much like the first three, with gritty defense and pound-them-out buckets leading the way.
The season series ended in a split with Bayfield winning the last two, including the district championship on Feb. 24.
“It was a pleasure to be a part of a league with two teams this good,” Alamosa coach Brandon Brubacher said. “It was tough to face them again, but that’s what happens when two teams are doing this well.”
Adams put Alamosa on his back in the opening minutes of the third, scoring eight straight points to give the Mean Moose their only lead of the night. The 6-2 senior swished two 3s and capped off his solo run with a nifty reverse layup to make it 24-23 with 5:49 left in the quarter. But it was short-lived.
Alamosa led for 20 seconds before Farmer hit two free throws to put Bayfield back in the lead for good.
“It was 20 seconds too long,” cracked Lehnus.
Bayfield led 23-16 at half, using an all-around performance from Phelps to lead the way. The Mean Moose didn’t have an answer for him in the paint early on and wouldn't score from the field until there was 24 seconds left in the first.
Phelps showed more of his all-around dominance in the second, too, soaring high for a crushing block at the hoop and following it with a quick steal and hoop moments later to put the Wolverines up 18-11.
“I just want to win,” he said.
Bayfield will face No. 6 Faith Christian in the semifinals Friday.
(6) Faith Christian 65, (14) Manual 57
Blair McVicker had 25 points and Jonah Gardner added 20 points, leading the Eagles (19-6) back to the semifinals.
The Eagles are one win away from returning to the state championship, where they lost to Sterling 48-47 a year ago.
Jaedon Bowles had 17 points and nine rebounds for Manual (16-9). The Thunderbolts finished with their third straight winning season.
(12) Lutheran 53, (20) Colorado Academy 46
Matthew Thompson scored 17 as the Lions (19-6) moved into the semifinals with a win over the Mustangs (16-9).
Thompson shot 6 of 8 from the field and to lead Lutheran, which shot 51 percent. Justin Kenny added 14 off the bench and Kole Brandon had 11.
DeAnte Dennis led Colorado Academy with 20 points and Alex Mushkin had 16.
(1) Sterling 58, (9) Strasburg 23
Sterling's season is now just two wins away from perfection.
Bodie Hume scored 24 — one more than the Indians (18-7) — and the Tigers (24-0) moved on to the semifinals.
Sterling shot 51 percent from the field and held Strasburg to less than 20 percent shooting.