ARVADA — Valor Christian boys basketball took one very big step to wrapping up the Class 6A Jeffco League title on Tuesday night.

The Eagles — No. 2 in this week’s Class 6A Colorado Preps coaches and media poll — grabbed a hard-fought 54-47 road victory against No. 9 Ralston Valley. The win gives Valor (18-2, 9-0 in 6A Jeffco) a 2-game lead in the loss column with three conference games remaining.

“We knew this was a pivotal game and we were going to get their best shot,” Valor coach Jeff Platt said. “We know Ralston Valley is really tough at home. We knew it was going to be a dogfight tonight.”

It was a low-scoring defensive battle through three quarters. Valor held a 36-28 lead going into the final quarter. Ralston Valley (13-5, 5-2) was able to cut the lead to 38-36 with 5:25 left in the fourth quarter, but the Mustangs couldn’t get over the hump and never took the lead in the final minutes.

Senior Eli Kim came up big with a trio of buckets in the fourth quarter as he poured in nine of his 11 points in the final eight minutes. Senior Ryan Dixon was huge the entire game for the Eagles scoring a team-high 14 points. Valor went 8-for-10 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

Photo by Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Public Schools

“It feels really good,” Dixon said of sweeping the two match-ups against Ralston Valley during league play and getting one victory away from clinching a conference title.

Dixon and Kim were the only two Eagles to reach double-digit points. Junior Cole Scherer, who came in averaging 21.2 points per game, became more of a facilitator than a scorer.

“You have to have other multiple guys step up,” Platt said of Scherer being held to a season-low 7 points. “It’s a real good sign of the growth of our team. It’s a great sign of Cole’s growth of being able to impact the game a lot of other ways when his shot isn’t falling.”

Junior Brady Wynja (8 points) and Ryan Oblachinski (7 points) contributed for Valor as the Eagles remained undefeated in league play and picked up their ninth-straight victory.

“That’s a really good aspect about Cole. He isn’t going to be greedy with the ball and be a ball hog,” Dixon said of Valor’s leading scorer. “If he isn’t making shots he is going to pass it and give me wide-open looks for dunks.”

Ralston Valley saw its six-game winning streak come to an end, along with the Mustangs’ chances to dethrone Valor from likely capturing back-to-back conference titles.

Sophomore Caiden Braketa led all Mustangs with 14 points on a cold shooting night for Ralston Valley. The Mustangs were 3-for-15 (20 percent) from 3-point range and shot just 34 percent from the field.

Junior Tanner Braketa missed the first meeting against Valor back on Jan. 10 while he was still recovering from off-season knee surgery. The Eagles were ready to face the older Braketa brother this time around.

“I just made sure we had help defense on him (Tanner Braketa),” Dixon said of how the Eagles prepared to face the 2-time Jeffco League MVP. “It was a total team effort. We had good communication. It was my job to tell everyone where the screens were coming from.”

Tanner Braketa had 12 points. Junior Jayce Bahl had a nice game with 10 points, 8 rebounds and a pair of blocks for Ralston Valley, but it wasn’t enough to push past the hot Eagles.

Valor hosts Arvada West (14-5, 6-2) on Thursday night to finish out the week. The Eagles close the regular season with road games against Chatfield and Lakewood before the 6A 32-team brackets are released. First-round state tournament games are slated for Wednesday, Feb. 21.

Ralston Valley still has five conference games remaining. The Mustangs are at Lakewood on Thursday night before having four league games in seven days from Feb. 10 through Feb. 16.