5A BOYS FINAL FOUR PREVIEW

5A Boys Final Four Preview
PHOTO PROVIDED BY JACKSACTIONSHOTS.COM

We have been down this road before … almost exactly …. and recently.

The 2017 Class 5A final four had Eaglecrest, ThunderRidge, Rock Canyon and George Washington.

The 2018 5A final four has Grandview, ThunderRidge, Rock Canyon and George Washington.

Granted, the odd team out in this case is the past season’s champion, Eaglecrest, but substitute that Centennial League team for a different one (Grandview) and we have similar semifinalists for Friday night at the Denver Coliseum.

Winners will advance to Saturday night’s final that will cap the 97th winter season on record.

Below are previews of the matchups (seeds in parenthesis), survivors of a good quarterfinals round:

(6) Grandview vs. (2) ThunderRidge, 7 p.m.

Now at 22-4 on the season, Grandview has won two of its past three games against the Grizzlies, the last coming on Dec. 15, 2011, a 58-42 setback. Gary Childress was Wolves head coach. … Current head coach Michael Rogers is in his fourth season and is 66-35. … The Wolves have won nine games in succession and finished second (11-3) in the Centennial League, a game behind champion Overland. … Grandview, which won 11 of its first 12 games, actually had a losing streak, dropping back-to-back games to 2017 state champion Eaglecrest and Overland in mid-January. … Fresh from a solid 59-53 victory over Parker’s Chaparral, the Wolves also beat a good Colorado Springs’ Rampart 53-44 after waxing league-rival Cherokee Trail 72-41. … Junior Dayne Prim is Grandview’s leading scorer (13.0 points) and rebounder (7.4), but Rogers’ rotation has proven solid with an assortment of contributors. Ben Boone, Levi Dombro, Gunner Gentry, Caleb McGill, Lian Romero, Tyler Unger and Devon Walker have shared the ball, rebounded, defended and protected. … ThunderRidge (25-1) has won 19 games in a row. The Highlands Ranch Grizzlies’ lone loss occurred on Dec. 9, to Chaparral in a tournament, by 61-45. … They swept through the Continental after beginning the season 4-0 in the Jim Harris Tournament of Champions in California. … If the following can be stated, head coach Joe Ortiz quietly continues a hall-of-fame career as one of the best of his era. In fact, he won his 400thgame earlier this season, a 56-51 defeat of Chaparral in league. The man also carries himself with aplomb and respect, always answering questions, win or lose. … Kaison Hammonds (16.0 points), Tyson Cruickshank (11.7) and Justin McCaw (11.0) head the scoring. In addition, Robbie Hess, Austin Holt, Sean Moran, Joey Rumbaugh, Kevin Sax and Bailey Verk head the rest of the charge.

(5) George Washington vs. (1) Rock Canyon, 8:30 p.m.

There were those who left GW for dead on Jan. 5, when it lost 52-48 at ThunderRidge and dropped to 7-5. But the Patriots promptly won three key nonleague games on the road, at Chaparral, Regis Jesuit and Rangeview, beat Far Northeast to open the Denver Prep and the run was in full stride. … The Patriots have won 14 games in a row. Most recently, they knocked off Smoky Hill 42-41 on a late runner by Jon’il Fugett. … GW, which lost in last season’s final to Eaglecrest, is 46-8 over two seasons. … Teams have to bring their ‘A’ game on offense against the Pats – before their quarterfinals victory, they had scored at least 70 points in 13 consecutive games. … Xavier Cooper (12.7 points), Fugett (12.2) and Mohammed Diallo (10.2) lead GW scoring. Kendale Johnson, Devon Jones, JoVon Nelson, D’Auntray Pierce and Shawn’Trell White each must be dealt with, and getting up and down the floor hasn’t been a problem. … Rock Canyon (24-2) looked like it was going to run away for much of the regular season, winning its first 18 games. The Jaguars first lost on the road in Parker at Chaparral, by 73-57, then dropped a 78-71 overtime ame at ThunderRidge. It was one of three OT games in February for the Jags. They were 2-1, winning over host Legend and eliminating defending state champion Eaglecrest 65-64 in the second round. … The Jags actually finished third in the Continental as Chaparral finished runner-up to ThunderRidge. …  It’s a program record in victories for Rock Canyon, which was 23-4 a year ago and lost by a point in OT to Eaglecrest. … Senior guard Sam Masten, headed to the University of Northern Colorado, has been filling up box scores all season, averaging 22.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 1.6 steals. He is the Jags’ clear leader. It’s up to the likes of Joe Bryson, Jaylen Eikenberg, Tyson Gilbert, Nick Janedis, Mason Weist and Blake Williams to join in the fun.

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Neil Devlin
About Neil Devlin 35 Articles
Neil H. Devlin is in his 38th year covering Colorado high-school sports. He's currently the Sports Information Director at Mullen High in southwest Denver. Twitter: @neildevlin. Web: www.mullenhigh,com

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