HIGHLANDS RANCH – Both crowds were crazy from the moment the officials threw the opening tip. But when Radek Homer tossed an alley-oop pass to Caden Stevens for the exclamation point late in the fourth quarter, the Mountain Vista students came unglued.

With good reason. It’s hard to not pay attention to numbers when it comes to season rankings, especially in high school athletics. So when the Golden Eagles toppled Class 6A No. 1 Rock Canyon 62-52 on Thursday, everyone took notice. The fans, the coaches, the players and even those just following on social media.

“We beat a really good team and that can’t be bad for you,” coach Brian Wood said. “We expected to win. It’s not that I’m surprised, (Rock Canyon coach) Kent (Grams) does a great job so this is a great win.”

The Golden Eagles (16-2 overall, 6-0 Continental League) are the only team this season to get the better of Rock Canyon, the thing is they’ve done it twice now.

Gavin Hershberger gave the Jaguars (17-2, 5-1) the sense of urgency they needed in the second quarter. He knocked down two 3-pointers and another basket to help them pull to within four points at halftime.

But that momentum slipped away early. Stevens knocked down a 3-pointer, starting an 8-2 run for the Golden Eagles to start the third quarter. Grams called a quick timeout to regroup, but his team was unable to counter a game-high 22 points from Stevens and another 21 from Homer.

“They’re the only team that’s beaten us,” Grams said. “We haven’t played (Denver) East who beat them and they lost to Eaglecrest and we beat them. They’re a hell of a team. They are who they are, and they’ve been that way for 20 years.”

(Dan Mohrmann/ColoradoPreps.com)

Part of being who they are is being active on defense and starting the third quarter with the kind of run that really created distance on the scoreboard. Stevens’ only basket of the quarter was that 3-pointer and Homer scored nine of his 21 to follow it up. Those two combined for 12 of the Golden Eagles’ 15 points in the frame.

“We kept making big runs and they’d come right back,” Homer said. “So getting those big runs in the third was really big for our team.”

Rock Canyon entered the game with the No. 1 ranking in the Class 6A CHSAANow.com Coaches’ Poll while the Golden Eagles were at No. 4. That poll will likely see significant changes next week.

But the number a lot of people are paying attention to is the CHSAA Selection and Seeding Index. That’s were the Jags sat at No. 1 and the Golden Eagles at No. 2.

The play on the court now says otherwise. If each team keeps winning, they could land in the top two spots on the 6A state bracket in a couple of weeks. At that point, a rematch could make the stakes a lot higher than just bragging rights in Highlands Ranch.

“I think this is a team we can see in the playoffs,” Stevens said. “They’re a really challenging group and challenging to play against.”

It was Rock Canyon who knocked out Mountain Vista in the 5A Sweet 16 a year ago. Both teams look capable of advancing further in the bracket and if they meet again in the postseason, it should provide another fun and electric atmosphere.