1A boys basketball: Diop shines as Belleview Christian tops De Beque for state crown

COLORADO SPRINGS — The goal for Belleview Christian is always to hold its opponent to single digits each quarter. In the Class 1A boys basketball state championship game, the Bruins went above and beyond that goal.

They allowed De Beque to score just seven points in the entire first half and cruised to a 69-35 win to capture the state championship, the first for the school since winning back-to-back titles in 1999 and 2000.

They knew in order to come away with that coveted championship win, the important thing was getting out to a fast start and limiting what Jaden Jordan and Wes Ryan could do for the Dragons (16-2 overall).

Belleview Christian De Beque boys basketball

More photos. (PaulDiSalvoPhotography.com)

"It was extremely important," senior Logan Owen said. "We knew we had to come out and hold them under 10 points (apiece). Our goal is single-point quarters. We executed and came out and got that done."

It wasn't much of a surprise to see sophomore standout Assane Diop dominate in multiple fascets of the game. He finished his day with a game-high 22 points and 20 rebounds. He also dished out seven assists and blocked four shots.

It's been a theme for Diop all season and has made him one of the most talked about players throughout the entire state. Perhaps what's most impressive is his ability to push forward even on the rarest of days when he has an off game.

"If I have a bad game, if I pass poorly or don't do my job, (my team) always pushes me," Diop said. "That's the most important thing."

He had 12 points and 12 rebounds in the first half as the Bruins (16-0) built a 36-7 lead. Those first two quarters took the pressure off the Bruins and allowed them to play the game on their terms in the second half. It also gave them relief that their game plan to slow down Ryan and Jordan was working.

"We knew coming in that Wes is a great player and we knew that he had to be our focus the whole game," coach Timothy Owen said. "If he gets hot their whole team gets hot and thrives on his play."

Ryan and Jordan accounted for all seven of the Dragons' first-half points. Jordan ended the game with 13 while Ryan had seven.

Belleview Christian got points from just four players as Diop led with 22, Davin Hunter had 20, Logan Owen had 14 and Nathaniel Owen had 13.

Logan Owen will be leaving as a senior this year, but the overall outcome excites him for what this team will look to do in future years.

"I have full faith they can get it again next year," he said.

The Bruins' 34-point win is the biggest margin of victory in a 1A championship game as pointed out by Kevin Shaffer of ColoradoPreps.com. The previous was 31 points when Kim beat Ridgway 61-30 in 1996.

Belleview Christian De Beque boys basketball

More photos. (PaulDiSalvoPhotography.com)