LITTLETON — The five starters for Wheat Ridge’s boys basketball team has earned a nickname.
How does — Farmers Fab Five — sound?
Seniors Julian Claussen, Blair McVicker, Zeke Van Tuyl, along with juniors Dominic Bronk and Alex Morales have brought the right mix of talent this season. Nearly all five are averaging double-digit points and have the Farmers in position to win their first conference title in 12 years.
“They are just so unselfish, sometimes to our demise. They will overpass trying to get someone else the shot,” Wheat Ridge coach Tommy Dowd said of the Farmers Fab Five. “They just play well together and it’s a nice blend of kids. They like to play and get after it.”
Wheat Ridge’s 76-49 road victory Saturday against Littleton pushed the Farmers’ winning streak to six games and extended their lead in the Class 4A Jeffco League to two games over rival Golden.
The Demons (10-9, 6-2 in league) lost to Evergreen on Saturday, giving the Farmers (16-3, 8-0) a bit of a cushion with four conference games remaining. Despite having a little more margin of error, Wheat Ridge would love to complete a 12-0 league record.
“We should run it,” said Bronk of the final conference stretch. “To win a league title for the first time in 12 years would be fun.”
Wheat Ridge — No. 10 in the Class 4A boys basketball CHSAANow.com rankings — claimed its last conference crown back in 2007, winning the Jeffco 11 League when the Farmers were in the 5A classification.
“We’ll just use the old adage ‘one game at a time,’” said Dowd, who has headed the Farmers’ basketball program of more than two decades. “We know what lies ahead. We aren’t afraid to talk about it or say it. We are trying to make it fun, put it out there and go get it.”
The Farmers got the road victory Saturday afternoon thanks to a dominating effort in the third quarter. Wheat Ridge led by a dozen points at halftime, but really got some separation scoring 28 points in the third quarter.
“We wanted to turn it up on defense and turn that into offense, share the ball on the (fast) break and get some buckets,” McVicker said of the third quarter. “We have a lot of guys who can score so its tough to cover once we all get going.”
Van Tuyl — Wheat Ridge’s 6-foot-10 big man — scored six points in the paint in the opening two minutes of the quarter. Bronk and McVicker combined for 17 points in the third quarter. Claussen finished it off in fashion with a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to put the Farmers up 60-36 heading to the final quarter.
“We are a great passing team,” said Bronk, who finished with a game-high 18 points. “We get the ball to everybody.”
McVicker (16 points), Van Tuyl (11 points) and Morales (11 points) all finished in double digits. Morales poured in nine points in the first quarter hitting a trio of 3-pointer in the same corner in front of Littleton’s bench.
“At least two or three guys really going each night for us. We just have that type of team,” said McVicker, Wheat Ridge’s point guard. “I just like to find people and get them the ball where they like to score.”
Wheat Ridge wraps up its string of six straight road games next week. The Farmers face Standley Lake (Wednesday, Feb. 6) and D’Evelyn (Friday, Feb. 8) before finally returning to The Barn to finish the regular season against Evergreen (Feb. 12) and Golden (Feb. 14). All games are scheduled for 7 p.m. starts.
“It’s a good test,” Dowd said of the 6-game string of road games. “I’ve told them in the playoffs you could play them all on the road. We are well-tested and played some good teams on the road.”
Littleton (3-15, 2-7) has dropped seven in a row. The Lions still have a chance to get out of the cellar of 4A Jeffco with four conference games left.