COLORADO SPRINGS — Dalven Brushier is not afraid to take a game over. He focused in early and he focused in often as Doherty maintained a two-game lead in the Class 5A Colorado Springs Metro League after beating beating Rampart 72-59.
Brushier was the catalyst for the No. 8-ranked Spartans (16-2 overall, 8-0 CSML), scoring 13 of his game-high 21 points in the first half of the game. But he'll be the first to admit that he couldn't have done it without support from other role players on the team.
"I was the leader and had to tell everybody to step it up, but it's really the other guys," Brushier said. "It was Devin Jones, Emmanuel Burleson and B.J. Hardy who stepped up and put up points."
And they needed to step up since their sharpshooter wasn't able to get the looks or connect on the shots he was getting. Rampart (11-6, 4-3) did a great job of shutting down Berlin Brimble. The junior guard ended the night with 13 points, but shot 3 for 11 from the floor. He connected on a 3-pointer and four free throws in the fourth quarter, which pushed him closer to his season average of 15 points per game.
But what makes Doherty so dangerous is that there are too many able bodies that their opponents need to account for. Brimble may have had an off night, but the Spartans got contributions from all across the floor when they needed it.
"We have a couple of really talented kids," Doherty coach Jarris Krapcha said. "They knocked down some big time 3-pointer's."
Where the Spartans really excelled was on the defensive side of the ball. They took a 14-9 lead into the second quarter and went nearly seven minutes without letting the Rams score a field goal. Rampart was fouled and shot 12 for 13 from the charity stripe, but didn't get a field goal until Malik Salley scored from the lane with 1:12 remaining in the half.
Krapcha thought he pushed off though, which prompted a quick technical foul from the officials.
"I need to not let my emotions get the best of me," Krapcha said. "I'm pretty fiery on the bench and pretty emotional. I thought they were blowing the whistle too much and I should've kept my mouth shut."
The Rams came out in the third quarter shooting the ball much better than they did in the first half. In the first few minutes they got big 3-pointers from Kole Cerjan and Cal Zeb Roberson and they tried to claw away at the Doherty lead. But every time it felt like they were putting the Spartans on the ropes Brushier would score a basket or they got the ball down low to Kayden Washington for an answer.
"It's frustrating," Cerjan said. "They play good defense and we tried to scout them as much as we could. We weren't trying to get easy buckets, we were trying to go for the three."
Four of the Spartans' final five games are against league opponents, including a rematch with district rival Palmer on Feb. 19.
Rampart will try to learn from Friday's loss and make the necessary tweaks that will make them a dangerous team come playoff time.
"We have to continue to come together as a group," Rampart coach J'on St. Clair said. "I told our guys tonight that we have to win it together. With the team."