COLORADO SPRINGS — A battle of two of the state's top 10 Class 5A teams did not disappoint. Denver East boy's basketball won a close game against Doherty on Tuesday night with a final of 70-65.
The Spartans(16-4 overall, 9-0 5A Colorado Springs Metro League) held a lead through the first two quarters and seemed to have control of the game, but as the second half of the game started Denver East came charging.
The fourth quarter started with No. 5 Denver East (18-2 overall, 5-0 5A/4A Denver Prep) ahead 44-43 and the lead was extended throughout the quarter thanks to rebounds, passing, and stellar defense. No. 10 Doherty came back alive and a basket by Joe Golden got the Spartans back within three points.
Then like a yo-yo, East’s Kwane Marble II got a basket and Golden went and got a basket and this continued for the next three plays.
With only 30 seconds left and a score of 68-65, Doherty’s Alijah Bates stole the ball, but East’s Will Sass swiped it right back and gave East the ball with 20 seconds left. Daylen Kountz then was fouled and made two free throws that cemented their win and gave Doherty their first lost at home this season.
“Our boys were very resilient” Denver East coach Rudy Carey said. “We scraped, we found some combinations that worked well, and we worked hard.”
Denver East was led in scoring by Marble with 20 points and Kountz with 22 points.
“We did well rebounding, playing defense, moving the ball around, and communicating,” Marble said. “Plus, I felt that I played good, well, I guess great and helped my team get the win tonight.”
Despite the loss, Doherty fought all game and was led in scoring by Bates and Golden who scored 15 each. All but two of Golden's output came in the fourth quarter.
“We showed up and early on offensively we made shots, we got good looks, and we did a good job defensively limiting their two best players,” Doherty coach Eric Steinert said. “But with 23 turnovers its not going to cut it against a good team like Denver East.”
Doherty will face Rampart on Thursday and continue to fight to get a conference championship.
With Tuesday’s win, Denver East extends its winning streak to nine games and it seems like everything is setting up nicely for the team going into the final two weeks of games. The coaches and players are looking forward to what the next few weeks bring for their team as they go up against Denver South on Saturday.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to play hard so that we can have a shot at the state title this year” Marble said.
The last state championship for East came in 2014. If the Angels can make a run, they would set a record with the most state basketball championships in Colorado history.