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Sierra edges way to 4A state semis on Gordon's late layup
GOLDEN - Wesley Gordon honestly doesn't realize he's a star.
His Sierra teammates do.
In the final seconds as Friday’s game was tied, guard Jalen Little made sure the ball went to his senior center. Gordon shot only because he didn’t know exactly how much time was remaining.
Gordon’s left-handed layup fell with 4 seconds remaining and the No. 1 Stallions survived a scare from No. 2 D’Evelyn with a 65-63 victory that put Sierra back in the 4A semifinals in Boulder after missing a trip there last year.
Gordon didn’t have time to contemplate how his move in the final moments might secure a return trip to his future college home after the Stallions (25-1) had won titles there in 2009 and 2010. He was just looking for a teammate.
“If I had known there was more time I was going to kick it out to Calvin (Brown), because he was wide open,” Gordon said. “But I didn’t know how much time there was so I didn’t think I had time.”
The 6-foot-8 Gordon faced double and triple teams from D’Evelyn (22-3), sat for the final 5½ minutes of the second quarter with two fouls and often reverted to a pass-first approach because he was wearing several defenders.
Still, he scored 23 points with 16 rebounds and three blocks. Not to mention, of course, the game-winner.
The final shot was necessary because of four-point play from D’Evelyn guard Luke Stratman, who scored a game-high 26 points.
The junior sharpshooter with a 24-point average hit an off-balanced, from-the-hip 3-pointer with 14.6 seconds remaining as he was fouled by Sierra’s Deon Wilson.
His free throw forced a tie in a game that the Stallions had led 55-46 in the fourth quarter.
“It’s just one of those moments that, because of who hit it, I was excited but not shocked,” said Jaguars coach Troy Pachner, who said Stratman has received interest from a variety of colleges. He’d like to hear from Air Force. “That kid is a phenomenal talent and he’s done stuff like that all year long.”
But Gordon has been doing this stuff for far longer, so the Stallions knew what to do.
“The plan was to get the ball to Wesley’s side,” Sierra coach Terry Dunn said. “Get him the ball and he was going to get to the free-throw line or make the basket.”
Little, who scored 15 points and played such a critical role in keeping Sierra ahead as Gordon was at times neutralized, was going to Gordon even if Gordon didn’t want it.
“There was no doubt,” Little said. “I told him if it came to me or even if he handed to me I was going to go right back to him.”
After Gordon’s basket, Stratman unleashed a court-length inbound pass that was thrown too hard for his teammates to catch up to as it went out of bounds and the final horn sounded.
Sierra will face Broomfield in the semifinals Thursday, giving Gordon a chance to make his star shine even brighter – even if he’s still doesn’t know it.