BOULDER – With the reigning Class 5A Player of the Year in foul trouble for much of the night, Overland’s boys basketball team proved Saturday why the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Forced to play for long stretches without 6-foot-10 senior De’Ron Davis, the Trailblazers rode a collective effort to a 66-56 victory over Eaglecrest, securing the team’s second consecutive 5A state championship at Coors Events Center.
Three players scored in double figures for Overland (25-3), led by Jervae Robinson’s 18 points. Tyler Stevenson added 14 points for the Trailblazers, who never trailed, and Davis added 11.
Padiet Wang had eight points and 16 rebounds and Asad Yousaf knocked down seven free throws in the final few minutes to help seal the victory.
“The unselfishness is every coach’s dream. That’s what I hope we’ll be able to establish as a program going forward,” Trailblazers coach Danny Fisher said. “This is the most talented group of seniors we’re going to see for a long time and that we’ve seen for a long time – for them to be so unselfish and willing to share with each other, that’s a coach’s dream.”
Overland became the first team since Regis from 2009-11 to defend the 5A crown. For the team’s eight seniors, it also sent them out on a high note after they helped to turn the program around.
“It’s a blessing,” said Davis, who is headed to the Indiana University in the fall. “We’ve worked so hard over this season and the last four years.
“I just thank God for this opportunity. Not a lot of people get to ride out on top.”
Colbey Ross notched a game-high 27 points for the Raptors (25-3), who were playing their Centennial League rival for the third time this season. The two teams split the regular-season series.
“I’m not saying we didn’t hang in there,” Raptors coach John Olander said. “But they had a pretty comfortable lead most of the fourth quarter. They’re really good. You’ve just to give them all the credit. … It was their turn again to get another ring.”
Overland led 18-7 at the end of the first quarter, but Davis picked up his third foul in the first minute of the second quarter and went to the bench for the remainder of the half. In his absence, Eaglecrest slowly chipped away at the lead, cutting it to three points at halftime.
“The way that they just kept competing – we had every chance to just get blown out of here,” Olander said. “Our guys just kept coming back and kept coming back.”
But a 13-3 run to open the second half forced the Raptors to play catchup the rest of the way. Stevenson got things started with a 3-pointer and Robinson followed with the same. Davis posted up inside twice, helping the Trailblazers go up 39-26.
Davis fouled out with 3:24 remaining in the fourth quarter, and Robinson fouled out less than two minutes later. The Raptors kept battling, closing to within seven points in the final 30 seconds, but the team could get no closer.
“When someone’s down, you’ve got to lend a hand and pick them up,” Stevenson said. “When they did go out, they cheered us on and helped us through.”
Eaglecrest graduates only four seniors and returns Ross, among others. The Raptors had a rough road to the title game, having to go through Denver East, Regis Jesuit and previously undefeated Rangeview to make it to Saturday night.
Overland will be hit hard by graduation, but Fisher said the impact the seniors have made on the program will remain.
“These guys have been fighting it since their freshman year,” he said. “They came into a school that had never won a state title, so they were fighting history from day one.
“They put the world on the shoulders and they stood tall. Their legacy is tremendous. It’s going to resonate forever.”