GOLDEN — Timing is everything.
Golden’s boys basketball team has picked the right time to be playing its best basketball of the season. The Demons — No. 10 in the CHSAANow.com Class 4A rankings — won their seventh straight game Friday night with a 61-49 home victory over No. 7 Evergreen.
“We are a young team. It’s coming together,” said Golden sophomore Aliou Diallo, who scored a game-high 17 points. “When we start hitting shots we are a scary team.”
The Demons are frightening young with no seniors this year. Despite the youth, Golden (10-2 record) has put itself in position for a home seed for the state tournament that begins Tuesday, March 9.
“It would be awesome,” Golden coach Lou Vullo said of possibility having a home game to open the playoffs. “We could be dangerous.”
After back-to-back losses three weeks ago against Evergreen and Green Mountain, the Demons have been unbeatable. The Cougars (9-3) had already won the 4A Jeffco League title with a 7-1 conference record and having defeated Golden and Green Mountain during conference play.
However, the Demons jumped out to a 22-12 lead after the first quarter and never looked back on its home court Friday night.
“Our mindset was just to get revenge,” Golden sophomore Alan Acevedo said of facing Evergreen again.
Evergreen senior Griffin Lauritano led the charge for the Cougars in the second quarter cutting the Demons’ lead to 32-29 at halftime. Lauritano actually went over the 1,000-point career scoring mark in the second quarter. He finished with 15 points, but fouled out midway through the fourth quarter.
The start of the third quarter was key. Diallo drained a 3-pointer on the opening possession of the second half and sunk another basket in the first minute of the third quarter to extend Golden’s lead to 37-29.
“It was really big. We talked about it at halftime to come out focused like we were in the first quarter,” Diallo said.
Senior Jackson Mott had 14 points for the Cougars, but Golden’s defense wouldn’t allow Evergreen to get within striking distance.
“We have really been focusing on defense,” Vullo said after the Demons held the Cougars to just six made field goals in the second half Friday night. “Our defense was pitiful at the start. We’ve started to pick it up a little bit.”
Juniors Zach Weiler had a driving layup and Logan Brewer made a pair of free throws to close out the quarter for the Demons.
“We preach to the boys that it is super important how you start and end the quarter,” Vullo said. “We started and ended that third quarter well.”
Vullo actually hit a milestone himself this week. He picked up his 250th career varsity high school coaching victory with Wednesday’s win over Conifer.
Golden is Vullo’s third career coaching stop. He spent five years at Sheridan, nine years at Pinnacle and is in his third season coaching the Demons. It’s likely Golden will make the 32-team 4A state tournament which would make Vullo 17-for-17 when it comes to qualifying his teams to the postseason.
Golden is on the road against Green Mountain (Monday) and Littleton (Wednesday) to wrap up things before brackets for the state tournament are released on Monday, March 8. First-round games are scheduled to begin Tuesday, March 9.
“We feel hungry and we aren’t going to stop,” Acevedo said. “
Green Mountain (10-2) is also hot. The No. 12 Rams have won six straight games after taking an 88-25 victory Friday night against Alameda International. Green Mountain defeated Golden 63-50 back on Feb. 3.
“Monday is really important,” Diallo said of the rematch against Green Mountain. “That is another one we have marked on our schedule because the first time they took advantage of us.”
Evergreen is scheduled to close out its regular season at Standley Lake (Monday) and at home against Green Mountain (Wednesday).