Bayfield boys hoops beats Lutheran to win 3A championship, program's first

Lutheran Bayfield boys basketball

(Ray Chen/ArrayPhoto.com)

DENVER — The town of Bayfield had to wait 48 years for another chance to win a state title in boys basketball.

Now, they’re celebrating two school titles in four months.

Hayden Farmer scored 13 of his 18 points as part of a dominant beginning for the Wolverines, Ryan Phelps added 16 of his own, and No. 7 Bayfield beat No. 12 Lutheran 68-57 for its first boys basketball title in school history on Saturday night at the University of Denver’s Hamilton Gymnasium.

Not long before winning the Class 3A title, many of the players — including four of the Wolverines' five starters — were part of the school’s undefeated 2A football team.

Getting the second felt just as good. 

Lutheran Bayfield boys basketball

(Ray Chen/ArrayPhoto.com)

“Man, we were hungry to get another one,” said Farmer, who is also the school’s starting quarterback. “We wanted to make history.”

At the horn, the celebration carried from Denver to the small community 300 miles south. Junior Turner Kennedy was mobbed by purple-cladded fans as he rose the trophy high into the air and Farmer emotionally embraced his teammates.

The win meant a lot — for everyone, Bayfield coach Jeff Lehnus said.

“It’s a community that is very connected with each other,” Lehnus said. “You should have seen back at our Pine Cone restaurant, packed. The gym (in Bayfield), people are watching the game. There’s a unique connection among people because they grow up together.”

Kennedy added 13 points and Dax Snooks had 11 for the Wolverines (19-7), who were making their third trip to the finals and first since 1970.

The victory ended up being far less dramatic than their previous two in the postseason — wins over Alamosa and Faith Christian — both of which came down to the final minute.

Bayfield jumped out to a 32-9 lead, behind Farmer and a 3-point arsenal. The Lions (20-7) responded with a 12-2 run to end the half and climbed within as few as eight in the third and nine in the final minute.

But that's as close as it would get.

“We wanted this so bad and came out and gave everything,” Phelps said. “We wanted to put everything out there and we did.”

Kole Brandon led Lutheran with 17 points, while Matthew Thompson added 14.

The Lions made one final push in the closing minutes, but Bayfield kept things out of reach from the line — going 23 of 31 for the game.

In the end, Lutheran’s magical run through the postseason was finally over. The Lions upset No. 1 Sterling the day before, thanks to a game-winning shot from Peter Gibas with 2.8 seconds remaining.

“The greatest silver-lining is what these kids are going to learn from this,” Lutheran coach Bill Brandsma said. “They came together, they’re a brotherhood, they’ll never forget each other, and they truly love each other. We knew the outcome of this game wouldn’t define us.

“Maybe we left it all out there yesterday (against Sterling), I don’t know," he added. "But we sure came out flat today.”

Lutheran Bayfield boys basketball

(Ray Chen/ArrayPhoto.com)

Lutheran Bayfield boys basketball

(Ray Chen/ArrayPhoto.com)