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Scorpions' run comes up short in second half
DENVER • When the Sand Creek boys’ basketball team plays in a rhythm, points tend to come in bunches.
Too often on Saturday, that rhythm was nowhere to be found.
Credit Valor Christian (21-4).
On the strength of a physical defense, the Eagles beat the Scorpions 54-46 in a 4A state tournament quarterfinal at Denver Coliseum.
“This is the best team in school history,” Sand Creek coach Joe Rausch said. “This has been an unbelievably amazing group of guys to coach. I’m honored to have been their coach. They deserve everything they’ve got.”
The loss was particularly disappointing since Sand Creek (23-3) already had beaten Valor Christian this season. The Scorpions took a 76-61 triumph on Feb. 2.
But that game was played at Sand Creek, not the neutral site the coliseum provided.
“This time we sustained their run,” said Valor Christian coach Ronnie Degray. “That’s what we worked on all week in practice.”
Scorpions senior Josh Smith led all scorers with 18 points while grabbing seven rebounds, and Bryan Jenkins added nine points for the Scorpions.
Smith’s sweet scoring touch nearly helped Sand Creek overcome an 11-point halftime deficit. The senior buried consecutive 3-pointers to pull the Scorpions within four with under 5 minutes left in regulation.
But Sand Creek’s biggest problem was outside its control.
Chase Foster, a 6-foot-4 junior with scholarship offers from Colorado and Wyoming, had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
“We just had a bad start,” said Rausch, whose team trailed by 16 points after the first quarter. “We couldn’t recover from that, unfortunately.”