No. 2 Golden boys hoops hands No. 10 Conifer first loss

Golden senior Jason Johnson (21) scrambles after the ball after stealing it away from Conifer senior Dustin Morrison (10) on Wednesday night. Morrison scored a game-high 17 points, but it wasn't enough to keep the Lobos undefeated on the season. No. 2 Golden scored a 59-47 victory. (Dennis Pleuss)

Golden senior Jason Johnson (21) scrambles after the ball after stealing it away from Conifer senior Dustin Morrison (10) on Wednesday night. Morrison scored a game-high 17 points, but it wasn't enough to keep the Lobos undefeated on the season. No. 2 Golden scored a 59-47 victory. (Dennis Pleuss)

GOLDEN — Golden junior Nick Capaul provided instant energy and offense Wednesday night in the Demons’ Class 4A Jeffco League opener.

Capaul came off the bench and scored a team-high 16 points, including 13 points in the opening half, to help Golden to a 59-47 victory against previously undefeated Conifer (8-1 overall, 0-1 in league).

Golden senior Ryan Thistlewood (20) splits a pair of Conifer defenders on a drive to the basket Wednesday night at Golden High School. (Dennis Pleuss)

Golden senior Ryan Thistlewood (20) splits a pair of Conifer defenders on a drive to the basket Wednesday night at Golden High School. (Dennis Pleuss)


“It got us all pumped up to play,” Capaul said having the chance to end the Lobos’ winning streak. “We were playing a good team and we had a big crowd.”

Capaul scored six points during a key 13-0 run in the first half by Golden, ranked No. 2 in the current CHSAANow.com 4A boys basketball poll. No. 10 ranked Conifer was never able to cut Golden’s lead to single-digits after the offensive outburst by the Demons.

“He (Capaul) could start on this team, but I’ve always loved bringing offense off the bench,” Golden coach John Anderson said. “He brings it.”

Golden (7-2, 1-0) also brought its scoring touch inside the paint early on. The Demons dominated down low with Capaul, Cole Greff (12 points), Kayden Sund (11 points) and Ryan Blodgett (seven points).

Sund scored his season-high thanks in part to three 3-point plays where he made the shot, was fouled and made the ensuing free throw.

“He (Sund) made some plays tonight. The mid-range jumper he made was a huge bucket,” Anderson said of Sund’s final 3-point play in the fourth quarter that stopped a little run by the Lobos. “Once he gets more confident in his shot he is going to be a big-time scorer for us.”

Conifer senior Dustin Morrison provided a second-half spark. Morrison buried four 3-pointers after halftime to finish with a game-high 17 points.

Conifer coach Eric Valerio said he is proud of his team’s progress over the past two seasons, but added Wednesday night’s performance was a bit of a letdown. The Lobos’ 8-0 record to begin the season was the best start in the program’s history.

“I’m disappointed we really didn’t give them our best shot,” Valerio said. “We didn’t play well in the first half at all. We looked frazzled. We weren’t focused.”

Conifer stays on the road to face Littleton at 7 p.m. Friday.

“When you play in the Jefferson County League you don’t have any other choice then to play a full game if you want to be successful,” Valerio said. “All these teams are well-coached and talented.”

Conifer junior Nate Ferguson (13) finds himself surrounded by Golden's Ryan Thistlewood (20), Ryan Blodgett (33) and Jason Johnson (21) during Wednesday's Class 4A Jeffco League game at Golden High School. (Dennis Pleuss)

Conifer junior Nate Ferguson (13) finds himself surrounded by Golden's Ryan Thistlewood (20), Ryan Blodgett (33) and Jason Johnson (21) during Wednesday's Class 4A Jeffco League game at Golden High School. (Dennis Pleuss)

The Demons are set for another solid test Saturday night. Golden travels to Valor Christian (5-3, 1-0) in Highlands Ranch to face the Eagles. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

“It’s a big game. They are a good team,” Anderson said of facing Valor. “I’m excited to go play that team.”

Valor took an 80-61 home victory against Wheat Ridge in its conference opener Wednesday night. The loss ended a six-game winning streak for the Farmers.

Anderson added he liked having the extra day to prepare for the Eagles, a 4A semifinalist last season. Valor is back in the 4A Jeffco conference after a two-year hiatus. The Eagles won the 2010-11 4A Jeffco League championship title four seasons ago.

“I think we can beat them,” Capaul said. “We’ve just got to play good. If we play bad we’ll lose.”

Conifer junior Robert Burnett, left, looks for a way around Golden junior Ryan Blodgett during the second half Wednesday night. (Dennis Pleuss)

Conifer junior Robert Burnett, left, looks for a way around Golden junior Ryan Blodgett during the second half Wednesday night. (Dennis Pleuss)