GOLDEN – It doesn’t surprise Lutheran boys basketball coach Ryan Bredow that three of the final four teams standing in the Class 3A state tournament are from the Metro League.
With those teams going at it night in and night out during the regular season and district play, the level of competition is bound to help give teams an edge come tournament time. But if the Lions want to create an all-Metro League championship game like last year, first they will have to take down Colorado Springs Christian.
“CSCS is outstanding. We know that any time you get this deep in the tournament, every team is good,” Bredow said Thursday after dispatching an upstart Brush squad 66-51 at Lockridge Arena on the Colorado School of Mines campus. “Every team’s got really good players and everybody’s got matchup problems. We’ll come in (Friday) and keep things focused on us and make a run at it.”
Lutheran (21-4) takes on CSCS (22-1) at 5:30 p.m., with Faith Christian (23-2) meeting Colorado Academy (19-6) in the other semifinal.
The Lions had their hands full in the first half with a Beetdiggers team that eliminated Kent Denver and Sterling last weekend. Lutheran led by only six points at halftime before a strong start and end to the third quarter helped put Brush (13-12) away.
“When we went in at halftime, it’s just a senior heavy group that just kind of dialed in,” Bredow said. “We made a few adjustments defensively, and I thought we took better care of the ball in the second half against a little bit of pressure. I thought our shot selection was better in the second half as well.”
Brandon Crocker led the Lions with 20 points. James Willis added 18, Brendan Edgerley had 14 and Josh Clausen finished with 11.
Edgerley had a big steal early in the second half that led to a 3-point play, and the senior also had a steal-and-layup combo late in the third quarter. Edgerley scored six of the team’s seven points during one stretch to push Lutheran’s lead to 50-35.
“I just thought Brendan played really well. He triggers so many things for us on both ends of the floor, and the rest of the guys really feed off his energy,” Bredow said. “When he’s making plays, we’re a much better team.”
Kyle Rosenbrock led Brush with 14 points, all of which came in the second half. Austin Garcia scored 12 points and Niko Guzman added 10.
(1) Faith Christian 61, (9) Jefferson Academy 54, OT
The Eagles outscored Jefferson Academy 9-2 in overtime after the Jaguars hit two late free throws to force the extra session.
Jefferson Academy led for much of the way and was up by seven going into the fourth quarter before Faith Christian rallied. Grant Harkness hit the go-ahead bucket, and added a free throw with 4.8 seconds left to make it 52-50. Harkness was whistled for a foul though, and the Jaguars’ Joe Rodriguez calmly sank both shots to tie the game.
In overtime, Chance Bazz hit a go-ahead 3-pointer, and Gabe Hegarty followed with a three-point play to make it a six-point advantage.
Harkness scored 18 points and Spencer Bazz added 17 for the Eagles. Joe Raff paced the Jaguars with 19 points.
(2) Colorado Springs Christian 59, (7) Alamosa 44
Sophomore Justin Engesser and junior Sam Howard combined to score 40 of the team’s 59 points as the Lions rolled past Alamosa.
Engesser was 6-of-8 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line and added eight rebounds as well. Howard was 8-of-11 and blocked four shots.
Josh Cody led the Mean Moose with 14 points and Ryan Brubacher added 13.
(4) Colorado Academy 60, (28) Bayfield 44
The Mustangs outscored Bayfield 29-18 in the second half to move back into the state semifinals.
Colorado Academy, which finished second a year ago, received a game-high 21 points from junior Christian Hyatt and 17 more from Justin Bassey. Will Creedon finished with 10 points.
Preston Hardy and Trevor Gabbard led Bayfield with a combined 23 points.