LAKEWOOD — A second is all the time it took for Lakewood’s boys basketball team to swing the tide dramatically Wednesday night at Green Mountain High School.
Three-sport athlete Pierce Holley scored a game-high 28 points for Lakewood in a 67-59 victory over Green Mountain. His most impressive scoring stretch came over the span of a second to close out the third quarter.
“I don’t think I’ve ever scored five points in one second,” Holley said with a laugh. “I thought we got a lot of momentum off of that. It was a little lucky.”
Holley was fouled with one second left on the clock in the third quarter. Lakewood’s starting quarterback on the Tigers’ football team this past fall made both free throws to extend Lakewood’s lead to 46-39 over Green Mountain. The real dagger was the Rams’ ensuing inbound pass hit a ceiling rafter on a full-court pass attempt.
Lakewood regained possession underneath the Rams’ basketball and Holley preceded to nail a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Tigers a 49-39 lead heading to the fourth quarter.
“That was brutal. That was brutal,” Green Mountain coach Mike Puccio said of the end of the third quarter. “That could have been a 10-point swing. To come back from that was tough. That hurt us.”
Lakewood coach Daryl Johnson gave credit to sophomore Addison Reddinger for actually calling the inbound play where Holley worked off a screen to get open for the 3-pointer.
“I have to give props to our sophomore (Redding) who called that play,” Johnson said. “He said we had to run it for Pierce. That was a pretty good idea.”
Reddinger (10 points) and senior Omar Vargas (14 points) pitched in double-digit points in the season opening victory for the Tigers (1-0 record). Senior Simon Muango had eight points for a shorthanded Lakewood team that only suited eight players.
“We had so many weird situations here at the start of the season and just had to go with eight (players),” Johnson said. “Hats off to Pierce. That kid is incredible.”
Pierce just received a football offer from the Colorado School of Mines. He has also been one of Lakewood’s top lacrosse players over the past few spring seasons.
“I’ll do whatever I need to do to help the team win,” Holley said.
Green Mountain (0-1) was led by juniors Blake Schell and Trey Towndrow. The pair combined for 42 points in the loss. Schell finished with 23 points, including three 3-pointers. Towndrow scored a 14 points in the second half to finish with 19 points.
The Rams were especially excited to hold their season-opener on their home court. Water problems plagued Green Mountain’s gymnasium floor over the past few months. Damage caused the Rams’ indoor fall season teams — volleyball and gymnastics — to play several home games not at the school.
The new gym floor was finished just two weeks ago, just in time for the start of the winter season. Green Mountain held a ribbon-cutting ceremony prior to tip-off to thank everyone who worked to get the floor ready for the start of the winter basketball season.
The Class 4A Jeffco League looks pretty open with powerhouses Golden and Evergreen graduating a lot of talent from last year’s squad, along with Valor Christian moving up to 5A Jeffco.
“Everybody can stay that right now,” Puccio said of the 4A Jeffco being wide-open this season. “There are a lot of great coaches. It’s a buzzsaw of great coaches. We are up for the challenge for sure.”
Johnson voiced his desire of having 5A Jeffco step up when it comes to the big picture across the state.
“I just hope Jeffco makes some noise,” Johnson said referring to the postseason this year. “It’s time for us to make some noise again. We all have to make noise.”