LOVELAND -- The expectations for the Caliche boys basketball program are as sky high as any boys program in Colorado. They are used to claiming the Class 1A title.
The Buffaloes placed fourth last season after winning four consecutive state championships, but looked hungry to start another run in a 60-22 thrashing of McClave, the defending state champions, on Friday evening in the semifinals.
“We knew they lost some players and they probably weren’t as strong as last year, but they’re the defending champions,” Caliche coach Derek Weingardt said after the game. “We knew that stood in our way and we wanted to take them down.”
Caliche jumped on the Cardinals 7-0 early and McClave didn’t score the first five minutes of the contest. Before they knew what hit them, the Buffaloes roared to a 34-9 halftime lead with smothering defense.
“Nine points at halftime was an awesome achievement in a semifinal matchup,” Weingardt said.
Caliche’s high-paced style and defensive guards led a powerful attack that cruised to the state championship game. Weingardt said they are extra hungry for a victory Saturday.
“They know what it was like to lose last year and losing a state championship football game (this past fall),” Weingardt noted. “They’re sick of losing, so they are out to get it. They’ve got some fire underneath them.”
McClave will play Cheyenne Wells in the third-place game on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Caliche, now 23-2, moves on to face 22-2 Hi-Plains for all the marbles Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Hi-Plains 58, Cheyenne Wells 51
In a fast-paced one, Hi-Plains jumped on Cheyenne Wells from the get go with a barrage of three-pointers and held a 22-18 halftime lead.
Cheyenne Wells held tough throughout, but Justin Miltenberger (17 points), Avery Marzolf (15 points), and Alex Nelson (12 points) were too much for the Tigers to overcome.
The Patriots claimed the 1A state championship in 2006 and 2008 and were runners-up in 2007. They will face the top boys program in the classification, Caliche, in the final game on Saturday at 7 p.m.