Wheat Ridge handles former league rival Alameda in boys hoops

Wheat Ridge senior Jordan Jones lays in two of his seven points in the first quarter Monday night against Alameda. The Farmers' pressure defense helped get out to an 19-0 lead in the opening quarter as Wheat Ridge went on to win its second straight. (Dennis Pleuss)

Wheat Ridge senior Jordan Jones lays in two of his seven points in the first quarter Monday night against Alameda. The Farmers' pressure defense helped get out to an 19-0 lead in the opening quarter as Wheat Ridge went on to win its second straight. (Dennis Pleuss)

LAKEWOOD — Class 4A Jeffco League foes better not forget about Wheat Ridge once conference play starts up in a month.

The Farmers’ tenacious pressure defense and attacking offensive style led to a 89-34 road victory against Alameda International on Monday night.

“We’ve got to pressure you and score in transition,” Wheat Ridge coach Tommy Dowd said. “We are pretty athletic and we can roll a lot of guys out there to stay fresh. The encouraging thing is I know these guys are going to work hard every night.”

Wheat Ridge senior Vedin Kozic (3) takes a shot over Alameda seniors Saul Lopez and Julian Sanchez on Monday night. Kozic had a game-high 20 points in the Farmers' 89-34 victory. (Dennis Pleuss)

Wheat Ridge senior Vedin Kozic (3) takes a shot over Alameda seniors Saul Lopez and Julian Sanchez on Monday night. Kozic had a game-high 20 points in the Farmers' 89-34 victory. (Dennis Pleuss)

The Farmers (2-1) scored the first 19 points Monday night on the Pirates’ home court. Alameda sophomore Anthony Lawson finally ended Wheat Ridge’s run to open the game with a bucket with 2:17 left in the first quarter.

Wheat Ridge’s pressure defense led to turnovers and layups, widening the Farmers’ lead to 49-15 at halftime.

“Coach Dowd likes us to put pressure on the ball and full-court press,” Wheat Ridge senior Jordan Jones said. “That’s our specialty.”

Wheat Ridge senior Vedin Kozic led all scorers with 20 points. The smooth lefty gave praise to the Farmers’ guards for getting Wheat Ridge off to a quick start.

“I’ve got to give credit to Jordan (Jones) and Anthony (McGinnis). They are our two guards at the top,” said Kozic, who exited the game midway through the third quarter along with the majority of the Farmers’ other starters. “They hustle and never get tired. They just run after the ball and get steals.”

Senior DJ Roybal was the only other Farmer to reach double-digit points. Twelve of the 13 Wheat Ridge players that took the court scored.

Sophomore Marcus Wilcox’s 10 points led Alameda (0-4).

The Pirates moved out of the 4A Jeffco League and entered the 4A Colorado 7 League for the current two-year cycle. However, Alameda scheduled non-conference games against former league rivals Arvada, Conifer and Wheat Ridge before heading into its new conference in January.

Alameda plays in the inaugural Tom McCormick Classic at Arvada High School that begins Wednesday. The Pirates open the tournament at 5 p.m. Wednesday against Conifer.

Looking ahead, Wheat Ridge dives into its conference schedule Jan. 7 at Valor Christian. The league looks to be shaping up as one of the deepest in 4A.

Wheat Ridge senior Anthony McGinnis (24) steals the ball from Alameda sophomore Anthony Lawson (3) during the first quarter Monday night. (Dennis Pleuss)

Wheat Ridge senior Anthony McGinnis (24) steals the ball from Alameda sophomore Anthony Lawson (3) during the first quarter Monday night. (Dennis Pleuss)

Two 4A Jeffco teams were ranked in the top 10 of this week’s CHSAANow.com 4A boys basketball poll. Golden entered the rankings at No. 2 with a strong 3-0 opening week. D’Evelyn hopped up a spot to No. 5. Other 4A Jeffco teams Valor, Conifer and Evergreen also received votes.

“I think Golden is the class of the deal right now if I was to pick,” Dowd said. “It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be a pretty formidable league. I like our chances. We are going to make it hard on anybody on any night.”

The Farmers might be able to garner some more attention if they are able to pile up more non-league victories before conference begins in a month.

Wheat Ridge stays on the road for its next three games before the winter break. The Farmers travels to Aurora face Gateway on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

“I feel like we are a top team as well,” Kozic said of the ranked 4A Jeffco teams. “When we meet we’ll see what happens.”

Wheat Ridge senior Willie Harris (33) looks for an open teammate while Alameda's Saul Lopez, Jeremy Ayala and Marcus Wilcox cut off the passing lanes during the first half Monday night at Alameda International High School. Wheat Ridge took an 89-34 victory in the non-league game. (Dennis Pleuss)

Wheat Ridge senior Willie Harris (33) looks for an open teammate while Alameda's Saul Lopez, Jeremy Ayala and Marcus Wilcox cut off the passing lanes during the first half Monday night at Alameda International High School. Wheat Ridge took an 89-34 victory in the non-league game. (Dennis Pleuss)