COLORADO SPRINGS – If there is one way to garner attention for any basketball team, it’s knocking off the defending Class 6A state champion.

Palmer didn’t just get a win over the Angels on Tuesday, the Terrors dominated the game to get a 79-63 win. As far as they’re concerned, it was just one win against one opponent. The holiday break hasn’t even arrived yet and the boys hoops season is still in its infancy.

But when looking at the 5A landscape for the year, Palmer is sitting in the 90th percentile of effort and ability, even if there is a long way to go before they can get a genuine sense of accomplishment.

“We think we can beat every team, but we also know that every team can beat us,” junior J’Twane Mike said. “That’s our mentality right now.”

It’s a mentality that will serve them well through the course of the season. It would’ve been easy to play a letdown game on Friday against Vista Ridge, but the Terrors (7-1 overall) did what they felt like they should’ve done. They dominated from start to finish in a 76-42 win.

Walker Asp led the team with 23 points and they came in a variety of ways. He scored on lobs from set plays, he got to the free throw line and he knocked down a pair of 3-pointers.

Ayden Yunker had 15 and Mike added 14 giving the Terrors a balanced offensive attack. As good as they looked offensively, it was the defensive effort that was most impressive. The length and athleticism of the starting five allows for coach Eric Trujillo to switch into a 1-3-1 zone that would make legendary Palmer coach Dan McKiernan blush.

“You know what, I’ve never run it until now,” Trujillo said. “I believe in man. You can space the floor with too many good shooters into today’s game. That first group and Kohen [Collins] is so disruptive. He never gives you a good look. He’s almost 6-foot-7 and his wingspan that’s almost 7 feet. I’ve figured out that I have a defense that can change the pace a bit.”

The 1-3-1 led to an offensive surge at the start of the third quarter as the Terrors went on a 10-0 to stretch a 10-point lead into 20 in the blink of an eye.

From there it was all academic.

The Terrors are quickly earning attention throughout the state which is only natural when beating a defending champion who is coached by the state’s all-time wins leader. The team is hoping for a deep playoff run that was last seen when current Denver Nugget Reggie Jackson took Palmer to the 2008 Final 4.

If they keep playing the way they have this week, the Terrors might start getting ideas of winning their first state title since 2000. They have the athletes who can shoot, attack the basket, lock teams down in man-to-man defense and cause havoc with a zone. They pride themselves on versatility which is why their goals are set high.

“Being able to play from anywhere on the floor is a big deal for all of us,” Asp said. “We all have that skillset to do something while we’re out there and score from anywhere on the court.”

But there is no getting ahead of themselves. Coaches and players alike will only say that today is worth one win. Even if that win came against Denver East. It was one game.

They all insist that they haven’t accomplished anything yet. But the potential is there to accomplish big things in a big way.

(Dan Mohrmann/