DENVER – With two of the state’s leading scorers doing battle, foul trouble came into sharp focus Saturday morning at the Denver Coliseum

Both Denver East’s D’Aundre Samuels and Smoky Hill’s Rickey Mitchell entered the fourth quarter of a tight contest with four fouls. But where Mitchell fouled out with 5:55 to go, Samuels was able to make his impact felt later into the fourth, leading the Angels to a 77-71 victory and a spot in the Class 6A boys basketball Final 4 next weekend.

The East star still fouled out with 2:38 remaining, but he was responsible for seven points, a key putback and a steal in the final period that helped overcome a late push from the Buffaloes.

“That foul out was huge for us,” Samuels said. “We were very confident. I had trust in my team that we were going to get it done.”

While the teams went blow for blow in the first half, it was the two-way play of Austin Mohr that set the pace. The 6-foot-3 senior knocked down a pair of NBA-range 3-pointers from the left wing and also banged in the post. He pulled down seven rebounds in the first half, five on the offensive end, and notched four steals.

It was Mohr who ended up putting the game away at the line, giving the Angels a four-point lead with 30 seconds to go. He led the Angels with 21 points, while Samuels had 19. Two more East players finished in double figures, with Jack Greenwood notching 16 points on two 3-pointers and 6-for-8 shooting at the free-throw line. Gil Gonzalez finished with 11 points that included three rim-rattling dunks.

“[Smoky Hill] played a great game,” Mohr said. “They got us down by five, but we never gave up and it feels so good when you’re in winning formation shooting free throws.”

The Angels led 56-53 after three quarters before Ray Gasaway knocked down a pair of free throws to give Smoky Hill a 57-56 advantage with 7:12 to go, their first lead since early in the contest. East answered with a bucket, then Carter Basquez splashed down from deep to retake the lead. Gasaway extended it with a reverse layup, then Kai McGrew made it 64-59 on a one-and-one. But after Mitchell fouled out, it was all East, with the Angels going 18-7 the rest of the way.

The Buffs were led by Mitchell with 17 points, while McGrew had 16 and Gasaway notched 13 on perfect shooting inside the arc.

East awaits No. 1 Mountain Vista.

“They’re a quality team,” East coach Rudy Carey said. “D’Aundre did what he does. He takes over when he can. Him and Austin, we depend on them a whole lot.”

(1) Mountain Vista 75, (8) Valor Christian 66

(Doug Ottewill/

It was slow going early for two of the strongest offenses in Class 6A, but the second quarter saw top-ranked Mountain Vista surge and No. 8 Valor Christian languish, with the Golden Eagles securing a 75-66 victory.

The teams combined to shoot just 25% from the floor in the first quarter, with Mountain Vista shooting 4 for 11 — all from inside the arc — and Valor posting a 3-for-16 period.

By the second quarter, the Golden Eagles exploded for 19 points despite an apparent nose injury to then-leading scorer Radek Homer, who exited with heavy bleeding and returned roughly five minutes later in a fresh jersey. Caden Stevens and Caleb Baskind picked up the slack, with the former knocking down his first two field goals of the game and the latter going 3-for-3 with two 3-pointers to help the Golden Eagles post a 34-23 lead at the break.

The duo carried that momentum through to the third quarter, combining for half of the 20 points Mountain Vista scored in the third.

Homer returned to form in the fourth and finished with a team-high 25 points, which included a vicious two-handed slam and a yell toward the Mountain Vista student section. Stevens added 19 points.

The Golden Eagles will face No. 4 Denver East in the Final 4 next weekend.