EDGEWATER — A few days before the winter break beings there are three undefeated boys basketball teams remaining in Class 4A.
Not surprising, Lewis-Palmer and Longmont — ranked No. 1 and 2 in the current 4A boys CHSAANow.com poll — hold two of those undefeated spots. The third might be a bit of a surprise.
Alameda International holds an 8-0 record after Thursday’s 56-32 road victory against Jefferson.
“I never thought we would go 8-0, but I knew we had the team to do it,” Alameda senior Isiah Lawson said after the Pirates’ latest win. “The coaching and the bond the team has is the difference.”
Last season, Alameda finished above .500 in more than a decade. Second-year varsity head coach Geremey Gibson, who spent one year as an assistant coach at Alameda, has the majority of last year’s squad back and so far the Pirates are perfect.
“It feels really good, especially with the players we have,” Gibson said of the undefeated record. “They have been working hard. I’ve been with this group for three years, so I knew what they are capable of. I knew we had something special.”
Lawson was special against the Saints pouring in a game-high 15 points. The Pirates’ point guard and floor general did it on both ends of the floor. He had several strong drives to the basket that resulted in layups or trips to the free throw line.
Just before taking a seat on the bench in the fourth quarter Lawson had a monster block on the defensive end.
“Lawson is very important,” Gibson said. “On the court he gives us that toughness that we need from a football player who transitions to a basketball player. He builds everyone else up.”
Alameda’s zone defense held Jefferson to single digits in three of the four quarters. Seniors Antonio Portillo (10 points) and Kurvonte Rice (nine points) led the Saints (2-3 record) in scoring.
Seniors Derik Gutierrez (12 points) and Orlondo Aguilar (10 points) joined Lawson in double-digit points for the Pirates. Senior Dominic Creazzo added nine points off three 3-pointers for Alameda.
“We are disciplined, especially during practice,” Lawson said. “We have to stay disciplined. With discipline comes winning games.”
Gibson has focused on the defensive end. That work paid off Thursday night with Alameda allowing a season-low 32 points.
“As the season goes on it gets long I harp that defense is going to carry us,” Gibson said.
The Pirates are right back on the court tomorrow (Friday) to finish off play before winter break. Alameda faces Pueblo Centennial at 6:30 p.m. The game will be played at Denver West High School.
“Tomorrow is a very big game,” Gibson said. “I feel if we can go to 9-0 it would be very big for the kids spirit and also for the Alameda crowds.”
After tomorrow night’s game the Pirates won’t play again until Jan. 10 when they host Denver North. The goals and expectations have definitely been raised for Alameda with the strong start.
“I don’t think we’ve been to the state tournament since 2007,” Lawson said. “We want to make the playoffs and advance to the Elite 8.”
Jefferson is back on the court Jan. 8 when it begins conference play in the 3A/2A Frontier League. The Saints host Middle Park at 7 p.m. in their league opener in a little more than two weeks.