LOVELAND – The fourth time was finally the charm for Limon’s boys basketball team.

After three losses to Simla during the season – two in the regular season and one more in the district tournament – the Badgers got one more shot at the unbeaten Cubs on Friday night in the Class 2A state semifinals at Blue Arena.

Limon overcame an early 11-point deficit, chipping away with its inside game in the second half on its way to a 49-42 upset of the No. 1 seed.

“Each game it just kept getting closer and closer,” said Limon senior Treyton Marx, whose team fell by only five points to Simla two weeks ago in district play. “We all had a feeling this game was going to be ours. We watched a lot of film and everyone was ready.”

Limon (21-5) will face No. 6 Sanford for the 2A title at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at Blue Arena. It’s a rematch of last year’s semifinal, won by the Mustangs.

Sophomore Aiden Kollath paced Limon on Friday night with 12 points. Marx and Jordan Rockwell had 11 points each.
Simla (25-1) received a monster game from junior Caston Cox, who had a game-high 22 points. That included three early 3-pointers that helped the Cubs go up 16-5.

“(He said) this is a game of runs,” Marx said of Badgers coach Dirk Pedersen’s message at that point. “We just had to keep our head in the game, do what we do, don’t get sped up and don’t get distracted by what the score is.”

Limon trailed the rest of the first half, but tied the game at 23-23 on a Rockwell basket to open the third quarter, and followed that up with a Marx lay in to give the Badgers its first lead of the game.

Simla was within one point of Limon early in the fourth quarter, but an 8-1 Badgers run made it 41-33 with a little more than a minute remaining.

Mason Jaques and Rockwell built the lead to as much as 11 in the final minute. Cox hit a pair of deep 3s, but the Cubs couldn’t pull any closer.

“We did our press-breaks and everything Coach told us to do,” Marx said. “We had good plays and that led to some open shots and some good layups. Everyone did a good job of finishing their shots.”

Limon last won a title in 1964, but has lost in the title game four times since. The most recent came in 2021.

“We’ve lost in the semifinals the last two years, which is tough,” Marx said. “But we’re all super-excited to be back.

Sanford 58, Merino 39

There is just something about Sanford and Blue Arena that agree with one another.

For the second consecutive year, the Mustangs stormed into the 2A state championship despite being a lower seed. On Friday night, Sanford blew open a close game in the second half, rolling past No. 2 Merino 58-39.

The Mustangs will be looking for their ninth title overall when they take on Limon on Saturday night, but the first since 2016.

Sanford (22-4) hasn’t lost a game since Jan. 5. The Mustangs knocked off No. 3 Crowley County on Thursday in the quarterfinals, and dominated the second half against Merino (22-4). The game was actually tied at 20-20 midway through the third, but Sanford closed the quarter out with a 7-0 run.

That continued into the fourth quarter as the team scored nine of the first 12 points to pull away.

Cash Caldon led Sanford with 14 points, one of four players in double figures. Trason Gartrell added 12 points, Ben Sittler tallied 11 and Lincoln Reynolds finished with 10.

Tyler Miller paced Merino with 14 points and Kaden Piel chipped in with 13.