Class 3A boys’ basketball draws to a close on Saturday as Sterling battles Faith Christian for the state championship. Kent Denver and Colorado Springs Christian also meet for the 3rd place trophy.
To track scores, please click here for our boys’ basketball scoreboard and game recaps are available below.
Carter Keil Steals the Title for Sterling
For the third time in school history, the Sterling Tigers are 3A Champions. With a come from behind victory, the Tigers shocked Faith Christian in the final seconds, 48-47 thanks to a steal by sophomore Carter Keil who took it to the hoop and completed the three point play.
The title didn't come easy for the Tigers as they entered the fourth down, 40-30 thanks to a 20-point quarter by Faith Christian. Ten of which points for the Eagles came from Benjamin Hawkins who was scoreless in the fourth, despite shooting game-high 18 points. The Tigers and Eagles were tick for tack in the first half with a halftime score of 23-20 in favor of Faith Christian. The third quarter was dominated by the Eagles, with Hawkins scoring back-to-back threes at one point to put Faith Christian up, 35-26 with three minutes to go. Jonah Gardner was fouled at the end and completed the three point play to cap off a 16-3 run by the Eagles heading into the fourth.
Sterling head coach, Mike Holloway must have said the right thing to his boys to keep them in it during the quick quarter break because his boys were quickly back to within six points less than two minutes into the final frame. The Tigers stepped up their defense, holding Faith Christian to only two points with just under three to play. Garret Pott made four from the line in the quarter, and one attempt even put the Eagles up seven with two minutes to go. With under a minute to play, senior, Jonathan Hardcastle put the Eagles up four after going one for two at the line. Brodie Hume hit his final two of a team-high 15 points with forty-two seconds to go. Then the improbable happened. Carter Keil stole the ball as Faith Christian swung the ball around the arc and charged down the court. Keil made the layup to tie the game at 47 and following a timeout, hit the and-one shot, his 12th and most important point. Carter Keil will go down as a hero for the Tigers and Coach Holloway will earn his second title as head coach for Sterling - your 3A Champions.
Kent Denver Loses Another Lead, Colorado Springs Christian Prevails in Overtime
The past three games for Kent Denver saw a late comeback over Basalt to advance to semifinals, but back to back loses by the Sun Devils puts them out of the top three in the 3A tournament. Last year's champions, Colorado Springs Christian battled all game long and took a one point lead with six seconds to go. However, a foul with three seconds to go sent Kent Denver's James Doyle to the line for a one and one attempt to win. The second rimmed out and a heave by Justin Engesser just missed to send the game to overtime. The Lions held Kent Denver to only three in the extra frame, as they are this year's third place winners with a 63-55 victory.
The first half was back and forth between the two teams, neither giving an edge to run the score up. The first ended with a coast-to-coast layup by Carter Harrington of Kent Denver to give Colorado Springs Christian a 12-10 lead heading into the second. The Sun Devils held Engesser to only two points in the second, and Coby Gold hit a floater to give Kent Denver a 23-19 lead going into the break. Engesser came out of the break with a jumper and then the two teams went off. Thirty-three points were scored between the Lions and Sun Devils in the third with Kent Denver holding onto a narrow 39-36 lead at the end of three.
The fourth continued as a mirror image of the third with both teams trading baskets and neither letting the other gain any momentum. However, with six seconds to go, Engesser hit a fade away basket and completed the three point play to give Colorado Springs Christian a 52-51 lead. A foul on the other end gave Kent Denver a chance to win it at the line, but the two went to overtime knotted up at 52. In overtime, Lookins Smith hit his third three-point basket and gave the Lions the momentum they needed. Engesser hit the would-be game winner to cap off his game-high 27 points with 1:15 remaining in overtime and a handful of trips to the line gave the Lions the win.