LITTLETON — Lakewood sophomore Jacob Storey could hardly believe what the scoreboard read as he celebrated with teammates Monday night at Dakota Ridge High School.
“It’s ridiculous. I don’t even feel like it’s real right now,” Storey said after the Tigers handed Dakota Ridge, ranked No. 4 in this week’s CHSAANow.com Class 5A boys basketball poll, its first loss of the season.
Storey’s layup with 10 seconds left proved to be the game-winning shot as Lakewood edged the previously undefeated Eagles 68-66 in the 5A Jeffco League game. Storey finished with 23 points, none were bigger than his uncontested layup to give the Tigers the lead for good.
“I just saw them double teaming Brandt (Christy),” Storey said of the Tigers’ final offensive possession. “I was just thinking I had to cut to the basket and get that last shot off.”
Sophomore Brandt Christy’s pass in traffic to Storey in the paint finished off a 12-0 run over the final 5 minutes, 18 seconds of the game. Dakota Ridge (14-1, 5-1 in league) held a 66-56 lead when junior Tyler McFarland buried his third 3-pointer of the second half.
Lakewood coach Daryl Johnson, who started all sophomores Monday night, wasn’t concerned about the double-digit deficit midway through the fourth quarter.
“Defensively we needed stops and that is how you are going to grow up as a team,” Johnson said. “If you are going to win as a team you’ve got to do it defensively first. Offense is great, but you have to get stops.”
The Eagles had four players reach double-figures with seniors Cody Pittman (14 points), Mason Grothuesmann (14 points), along with juniors Devante Jones (12 points) and McFarland (13 points). However, Dakota Ridge scored just seven points in the final quarter.
McFarland had the hot-hand for the Eagles in the second half, but his 3-pointer in the final seconds was off the mark and Dakota Ridge couldn’t coral the rebound to get off another shot. The Eagles had escaped with a handful of close victories this season, but the late-game magic abandoned them against Lakewood.
Dakota Ridge had a 15-0 run early in the second half to erase the Tigers’ lead it built to as much as six points in the first half.
“We knew we had to make a run of our own,” said Storey, who combined with fellow sophomore Kolton Peterson to score all 19 points for the Tigers in the fourth quarter.
Peterson was held scoreless in the third quarter, but couldn’t miss in the fourth quarter. He buried three 3-pointers, all with a hand in the face, and went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. Peterson’s 3-pointer with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter tied the game at 66-66.
“I guess it was a good time to get hot,” said Peterson, who scored a game-high 25 points that included six 3-pointers. “It was fun. I had chills down my back. It’s always fun to hit those big shots.”
Peterson is averaging nearly 28 points per game and scored a season-high 40 points and hit the game-winning shot a few weeks ago against Hinkley.
“That’s him (Peterson). That’s just what he is,” Johnson said of his sharp-shooting guard. “He is a competitor and that is how he is going to go down, competing.”
Lakewood (7-8, 4-2) had its four-game winning streak snapped last week with a 59-36 home loss to Arvada West. Clearly that loss didn’t linger into Monday’s game.
“It’s huge. It’s the biggest win I’ve ever been apart of,” Peterson said. “Come to Dakota Ridge (ranked No. 4), great team and to knock them off is a great win for us.”
Lakewood continues its tough schedule this week when it hosts Columbine at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Rebels (9-6, 4-2) currently sit tied in third place of the 5A Jeffco conference with the Tigers behind Dakota Ridge and Arvada West (11-4, 5-1).
Dakota Ridge hosts Ralston Valley for a 7 p.m. tipoff Wednesday night before finishing off its busy week at Pomona on Friday.