LAKEWOOD — Austin Beeson would have rather been getting ready to play in the Class 3A football championship than playing a basketball game Thursday night.

Beeson — defensive back/receiver for Green Mountain’s football team — was instead back on the court after the Rams’ heartbreaking semifinal loss to Lutheran last Saturday at Jeffco Stadium.

“It was hard to play my last ever high school football game,” said Beeson, after he led the Rams’ boys basketball team to a 53-44 victory over Centaurus on the opening night of the Paul Davis Classic hosted by Green Mountain. “My position coach said there is a reason for everything. That is how it was supposed to go.”

Beeson had it going in the second half against the Warriors, draining four 3-pointers to allow the Rams (1-0 record) to grind out a victory. Green Mountain joined Thomas Jefferson, Riverdale Ridge and Palmer on the winner’s side of the bracket semifinals scheduled for 6:30 and 8 p.m. Friday night back at Green Mountain High School.

The three-sport athlete — football, basketball and track — hit his final 3-pointer with 4:20 left in the fourth quarter to give the Rams a 42-39 lead after the Warriors had tied it up for the first time all night.

Photo by Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Public Schools

“Beeson kind of got loose a little bit,” Green Mountain coach Mike Puccio said of the senior guard’s four 3-pointers in the second half. “We knew we would have to take a lot of 3s because of the way (Centaurus) plays.”

Senior Ammer Dowdell hit another big 3-pointer with two minutes to play that pushed Green Mountain’s lead to 49-41. Senior Chris Scott sealed the win in the final minute with the only two free throws the Rams made in the second half.

“It did feel like a grind, especially in the end,” Beeson said.

Centaurus (1-1) was held to just 14 points in the first half, but behind senior Zak White (12 points) the Warriors made it tough for Green Mountain to advance in the winner’s side of the bracket.

The Rams made just six field goals in the first half and struggle from the free-throw line going 6-for-14 before halftime. However, Green Mountain held a 20-14 lead at halftime.

“We essentially have two team here,” Puccio said of having three key football players — Beeson, Blake Weslin and George Soppe — just join the hoops team this week after football season ended. “We have the guys who have been here and the new guys that we are trying to mesh together. We are just happy to get out of here with a win.”

Beeson said he has “got some shots up” during his free time during football season.

“Once I got into the mode, it was kind of just routine,” Beeson said of finding his shooting touch in the second half to lead all scorers with 17 points. “I wasn’t thinking about how many days or practices I’ve missed. I was like, ‘I’ve got to go play.’”

Green Mountain will have a tough test against Class 4A’s No. 6-ranked Riverdale Ridge in the semifinals at 8 p.m. Friday night. The Ravens defeated 5A’s No. 5 Air Academy 66-59 in one of the earlier first-round games.

“They are ultra competitors and that is what helps,” Puccio said of his team. “We have a tough weekend here. We are going to have to get our act together pretty quick.”

No matter what happens in the final two games of the Paul Davis Classic for the Rams, having everyone on the court is clearly a benefit.

“Even with just this one game I feel like we grew a lot as a team,” Beeson said. “We didn’t play as nearly as good as we could have, but it was an important game for us to grow together.”