DENVER – It took some time, but when Colorado Academy gets rolling, it’s a tough squad to slow down. Once the put back opportunities started falling and the Mustangs made a tweak defensively, they cruised to a 63-43 win over Pagosa Springs in the Class 4A boys basketball Great 8.

Now they’re back in the Final 4 for the first time since 2015. That year, they advanced to the state title game where they lost to Colorado Springs Christian at the 3A level.

“A lot of our guys are back from last year,” junior guard Simeon Woldeyohannes said. “There was obviously some nerves coming in because it’s a big game, it’s the (Great) 8, but once we settled down and made some shots, we got into the game. Coach made a great change to go to a 1-3-1 and once we forced turnovers we got some easy layups.”

That’s when CA started pulling away from the Pirates.

The Mustangs outscored Pagosa by a combined 39-20 in the third and fourth quarters and never looked back. Woldeyohannes finished with a game-high 23 points while George Buyers added 15. The Mustangs shot 50% from 3-point range and just started scoring at a pace that Pagosa Springs couldn’t match.

“We have really good players,” Woldeyohannes said. “George Buyers, that’s our leader and the best player on our team. We played off him and just started hitting some clutch shots.”

The Mustangs will take on league rival Kent Denver in the Final 4 next week at the Denver Coliseum.

Lutheran 65, Riverdale Ridge 31

(Dan Mohrmann/

Perhaps more than any of the 47 other teams that played in the Denver Coliseum this weekend, Lutheran made a statement. The Lions delivered a heavy dose of offense early and complimented it with suffocating defense.

The 34-point win was by far the largest of the weekend and instantly makes Lutheran a favorite to win the 4A championship next weekend.

Lalo Gonzales was the spark in the first quarter, scoring on layups, 3-pointer and tough mid-range jumpers. He finished the night with a solid 10 points and he also let the big fellas get their work done.

“I just came in brought the energy,” Gonzalez said. “That got passed on to my teammates and we were just communicating well, offensively and defensively. That’s what got us scoring and we played great together.”

Hunter Caldwell led Lutheran with 17 points and was 3-for-3 from 3-point range. Kade Speckman added 10, doing most of his work on the block and Braydon Jacob took his share of tough shots and finished the night with 15.

The Lions will see a tough test in Resurrection Christian next week in the Final 4, but they’ll head into the game with a ton of confidence after getting a blowout win in the Coliseum.

“We needed this as a team,” Gonzales said. “We have a lot of confidence. I’m super excited and I can’t wait.”