Thistlewood carries Golden boys hoops to win over Green Mountain

Golden junior Adam Thistlewood, left, avoids the steal attempt of Green Mountain junior Alex Telles (2). (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

GOLDEN — Apparently, Golden junior Adam Thistlewood doesn’t mind a little work on the weekend.

Thistlewood poured in a season-high 30 points Saturday afternoon to lift the Demons (16-5, 8-4 in Class 4A Jeffco League) to a 55-45 home victory against Green Mountain.

“I’ve been kind of in a drought in those two games before Littleton,” Thistlewood said of scoring a total of 13 points against Valor and Standley Lake. “It was good to get my confidence back.”

Golden, ranked No. 10 in the latest 4A boys hoops poll, was in a tight game through three quarters against Green Mountain. A key 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter gave the Demons the momentum it needed to avoid the Rams’ upset bid.

Green Mountain's Jake Myers (5) looks for a way around Golden's Colin Mulligan (34). (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Golden was able to push its lead to double-digits after the run in the final quarter.

“You never get worried if he misses some early,” Anderson said of Thistlewood. “When it crunch time he is going to make them.”

Anderson complemented Green Mountain’s interior defense headed by seniors Justin Booher and Dylan Jacob that held the Demons to just 26 points in the first half.

Thistlewood knew Golden would eventually figure out the Rams’ defense. He had a pair of steals from the top of the Demons’ 1-3-1 half-court pressure defense that led to dunks during the key run in the fourth quarter.

“We didn’t execute the way we should have,” Green Mountain coach Derek Van Tassel said. “We got in a hurry in the second half and Golden had that little run. That was the part that hurt us.”

Green Mountain senior Jake Haerti had 19 points for the Rams in the loss. The Rams sit in fifth place in the conference with two league games remaining.

“We just want to keep competing,” Van Tassel said. “We are in every game. We are right there. We just have to figure a way to get over the hump.”

Green Mountain Jake Haerti (25) looks for some room to operate. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Green Mountain (9-12, 4-8) looks to be almost a certainty to make the 48-team 4A state tournament field. The Rams stood in the 37th spot in the RPI standings before Saturday’s loss to Golden.

Green Mountain is at D’Evelyn on Tuesday night before its home finale against Wheat Ridge on Thursday.

Anderson’s crew will get a pair of great test next week to wrap up the regular season. The Demons host Evergreen (16-5, 9-3) at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Cougars nearly pulled off an upset Friday night against No. 2 Valor Christian, eventually losing 54-53.

“It’s probably the biggest two games of our season,” Thistlewood said of facing Evergreen and D’Evelyn next week. “If we can wins those two we can get home court advantage for the first two games in the playoffs.”

Golden’s final game before the playoff will be against No. 3 D’Evelyn (17-4, 10-2) on Thursday night.

Anderson stressed that the Demons won’t be able to lean on Thistlewood as much as they did Saturday when the postseason rolls around in a few weeks. He also believes that his team hasn’t played its best basketball yet this season.

“Everybody knows about him (Thistlewood) and teams are keying on him,” Anderson said. “When the time comes other guys have to make a play.”

The Colorado High Schools Activities Association is schedule to release the state brackets almost a week from now on Sunday, Feb. 19. First-round games in the 4A boys state tournament will be played Wednesday, Feb. 22.

Golden's Riley Stoner (10) and Joe Madsen, right, trap Green Mountain senior Justin Booher on Saturday. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)