DENVER — When Grandview needed a second-half spark, Calib McGil was there to light it. The steady-handed sophomore scored six points in the third quarter to tie the game for the Wolves.
From there, Dayne Prim and the others did the rest.
Grandview came away with a 42-39 on Friday night, joining its girls team to compete for a Class 5A state basketball championship. The boys will immediately follow the girls starting at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night. It is the first championship game appearance for the Grandview boys.
"We were trying to wait for (Calib) to get in a rhythm," Grandview coach Michael Rogers said. "He was kind of floating around in the first half. In the second half he kind of looked around and said 'I'm going to take matters into my own hands.'"
It turned out to be crucial that he did. Without him in the first half, ThunderRidge was able to control the game on the offensive side.
Senior Kaison Hammonds did all he could in the first half to put the Grizzlies on top. He scored 10 points in the first 16 minutes, shooting 57 percent from the field. But unlike Friday's weather in Denver, Hammonds went cold.
"I told them they needed to be closer," Rogers said. "I didn't want to hear I had my hand up. That's not good enough."
He made just one of his next six shots, allowing the Wolves to make a run and even the score after the third quarter.
And the momentum stuck around in the fourth. Grandview jumped out to a 42-34 lead, highlighted by a McGil dunk that sent the Grandview student sections into a frenzy.
While McGil lit the overall fuse for the Wolves, it was Rogers that had to light one in the sophomore. And when the two teams went into the locker rooms at halftime, that seemed like a good chance for the coach to wake up the player.
"Coach Rogers really got into me at halftime to get me to play better," McGil said. "I appreciate him for that."
When it was all said and done, McGil led the Wolves 10 points.
The Grizzlies tried frantically to find their shooting touch from the first half. They cut the lead to three on a 3-pointer from Robby Hess, which turned out to be his only points of the game.
The Wolves couldn't seem to knock down any free throws down the stretch however, and got one last chance in the closing seconds of the game.
Hammonds got the ball at the top of the key and was able to get the potential game-tying shot off. But like everything else in the second half, the shot off the mark and it was Grandview who had something to celebrate after a tumultuous week.
"We're just happy to be in the moment," McGil said. "We just want to soak it and play our game, one game at a time."
Grandview will meet the winner of Rock Canyon and George Washington with tip-off tentatively scheduled at 8:30 p.m.