COLORADO SPRINGS — Quindell Bryant converted on a rare field goal for Mitchell in the fourth quarter. The Marauders stole the ball on the press and appeared to have a look at a wide open layup. But the official got in the way.
It was that kind of night for the Marauders who fell to the No. 4 Sierra Stallions 80-50. With the win, the Stallions (17-3 overall, 11-0 4A Colorado Springs Metro League) wrapped up their league championship.
"That was one of the goals," Sierra coach Terry Dunn said. "We've got three games left so we have to keep working, have to keep getting better. We have some things that we need to sharpen up."
It was a rough start for the Stallions as Mitchell (12-8, 8-3) took an aggressive start to the game, taking a 12-5 lead midway through the first quarter, forcing Dunn to burn a timeout.
"He asked us where our fire was," forward Keandre Lewis said. "We weren't ready. He told us that we needed to pick it up and keep fighting."
The team responded. They finished the first half by going on a 30-13 run to go into the locker room with a 35-25 lead. A big part of that was the offensive surge that TeVion Thompson brought to the team. He scored 13 of his game-high 27 points in the first half, with all but one coming after the timeout.
His offensive display continued into the second half where he scored six of the first eight points of the half for his team.
"I'm very confident in my shot," Thompson said. "I've been like that all season."
The Marauders found themselves in a difficult situation early when their big man, De"Aundre Twilley took a shot in the eye in the first half and was held out of the game until the second half. With his key defensive player on the bench, Mitchell coach Rich Perea was forced to adjust his defensive strategy by going with a full court press.
"We were going to come out with it in the second half, but once our big man got hurt, we had to change something," Perea said. "On offense we go through De'Aundre and with him out we had to rely on our athleticism to stay in this game."
But by trying to fight fire with fire, Parea and the Marauders got burned. The Stallions had little trouble breaking the Mitchell press and the result was an increased lead, mostly from points coming off layups.
"They get after it, it's like they don't get tired," Perea said of Sierra.
With Twilley forced out of the game and Lewis - who scored 18 of own - and Thompson on complete control of the offensive side for Sierra, the Stallions were able to outscore the Marauders 45-25 in the second half.
With the league championship wrapped up, the focus for Sierra now turns to their three remaining games, then a potential deep run in the state playoffs.
"We want to take this as far as we can go," Lewis said. "We want to milk this cow until it's dry."