Wheat Ridge boys hoops works overtime to edge Pomona

ARVADA — Getting a little extra court time in Tuesday night didn’t bother Wheat Ridge’s boys basketball team, especially since the Farmers came out on the winning end.

Wheat Ridge managed a 80-73 overtime road victory against Pomona to improve to 3-1 on the season.

Wheat Ridge senior Julian Claussen lays in two of his game-high 27 points Tuesday night against Pomona. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“It was a tough game. It was a good win, but I must admit I was a little nervous there for awhile,” said Wheat Ridge senior Julian Claussen, who led all scorers with 27 points. “It was fun.”

What turned out to be enjoyable for the Farmers was an impressive 12-0 run during the overtime period that was the different in the game. Pomona (1-1 record) held a 70-67 lead after senior David Ross, who finished with 20 points for the Panthers, made a pair of free throws with 3:11 remaining in overtime.

Wheat Ridge proceeded to rip off a dozen straight points where five players — Claussen, Zeke Van Tuyl, Dominic Bronk, Dominic Cross and Alex Morales — scored.

“I just think we played with more energy,” Claussen said of the 12-0 run during a two-minute span in overtime. “We played smart like coach (Tommy Dowd) said and we just executed. That has been our biggest problem as a team.”

Ross hit a 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining to cut the Farmers’ lead to six points and end Wheat Ridge’s run, but it was too late. Morales added a free throw late to seal the victory.

Pomona senior David Ross (1) looks for room around Wheat Ridge junior Dominic Bronk (00). Ross had 20 points, but it wasn't enough as the Panthers lost 80-73 in overtime.

“We can run off 15 or 20 points in a row and then we won’t score for four or five minutes,” Wheat Ridge coach Tommy Dowd said. “Some of it is continuity with the kids when we have to sub a little bit. We can score. Problem is we let other teams run them on us.”

The Farmers held a 15-point lead at halftime, but Pomona junior Trevor Baskin poured in 21 points in the second half to get the Panthers back into the game. Buckets by seniors Jack Thiele and Dylan Deasy gave Pomona a 67-63 lead with less than two minutes to play in regulation.

A basket and free throws by Bronk tied things up at 67-67.

The Panthers had the final chance in regulation-time. Thiele took a jumper over the 6-foot-10 Van Tuyl, but the shot wouldn’t fall and a tip at the buzzer didn’t drop for Pomona.

“Zeke has really been a big surprise. He has played really well rebounding and changing shots,” Dowd said. “We’ve got a few good players. It about getting them all on the same page at the same time. The chemistry will take playing games.”

Pomona junior Garret Bishop (33) battles down low with Wheat Ridge senior Zeke Van Tuyl (42) during the second quarter Tuesday night at Pomona High School. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Wheat Ridge has a little more than a week break until its next game. The Farmers are on the road against Denver South on Wednesday, Dec. 12.

“Any win like this feels good,” Claussen said of the win before the Farmers hit the road again against Denver South.

The Farmers just made the 4A state tournament last year as the No. 47 seed. Wheat Ridge almost pulled off the first-round upset against No. 18 Holy Family, but the Tigers rallied in the final quarter to escape with a 48-45 victory.

Pomona also has a break until next week. The Panthers open play in the Ralston Valley Roundup tournament Tuesday, Dec. 11, against Aurora Central. Pomona will play three games in four days at Ralston Valley High School.

Despite a winning record last season 12-11 record, the Panthers missed out qualifying for the 48-team 5A state tournament. Pomona was the only team with an above .500 record not to make the state tournament. The Panthers finished 53rd in the RPI standings.

Wheat Ridge junior Dominic Bronk, middle, drives the lane on a trio of Pomona players Tuesday night. The Farmers took an 80-73 overtime victory to improve to 3-1 on the season. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)