It’s probably one of the most infuriating and sometimes irreversible occurrences in basketball, and for the Colorado Springs Christian boys’ basketball team, the reason its season ended in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament.
Shots just did not want to fall.
The No. 13 Lions’ trouble at the net led CSCS to a 47-40 defeat by No. 20 Gunnison at James Irwin on Friday. Gunnison will move on to face No. 4 Vanguard on Saturday in the 3A second round.
“There’s a couple of shots, a couple of defensive possessions we want back, but that’s a part of basketball,” said CSCS coach Mason Young. “You have to make the right shots at the right time. Gunnison just executed and did what they were supposed to and took advantage of the times when we didn’t.”
After a rough first quarter in which CSCS was down by 10, the Lions quickly rebounded, and eventually took back the lead. But a hot shooter put the Cowboys back in the game in the third quarter, and eventually lifted them to victory as CSCS made just one shot in the final eight minutes.
Hunter Wood scored nine straight for the Cowboys to take back the lead, and finished the game with 26 points.
Caleb Stockton kicked off the Lions’ early comeback by scoring 11 in the second quarter to cut a lengthy deficit down to three heading into halftime. Brandon Pitt and Kolby Walker took over in the third to give CSCS a six-point lead, but Gunnison outscored the Lions 12-6 in the second half of the quarter to head into the final frame tied at 37.
Wood sank a 3-pointer to kick off the fourth quarter, followed by a shot beyond the arc by Stockton. His basket would be the Lions’ only points in the final eight minutes.
Caleb Hulbert drained a 3-pointer for Gunnison with less than two minutes to play. Coming out of a timeout, Gunnison inbounded the ball in their offensive zone. Walker tipped a high pass, which was picked up by Stockton for a big turnover. But a 3-point attempt and a second-chance layup both bounced off the rim before Gunnison pulled down the defensive rebound. CSCS shot 0 for 6 in the final minute of the game.
“We did some pretty good execution there getting a tip and working defensively, but we didn’t hit the layup, we didn’t hit the open 3-pointer. We executed and the shots just didn’t go down.”
A pair of free throws by both Wood and Aidan Hilbert put the game on ice.