If you know Pikes Peak region basketball, you know Lewis-Palmer’s Joel Scott.
And if you know Joel Scott, odds are you probably know rising star Javonte Johnson of Cheyenne Mountain as both have emerged among the top 4A players in the state.
On Wednesday, area basketball fans had the opportunity to watch the two go head-to-head as their hoops teams clashed in a conference battle — but it didn’t take long for one team to run away with it.
Lewis-Palmer kept its undefeated season alive with a 96-61 win over Cheyenne Mountain.
“They are probably the deepest and the most balanced team that we have played since Chaparral,” Lewis-Palmer coach Bill Benton said. “We needed to be disciplined to pressure them and not give Javonte confidence from the start.”
Scott guarded Johnson in the first half, limiting the junior who was averaging 26.1 points per game to just four points in the first half.
“We wanted just to come out as quick as we could but we weren’t able to get anything going in the beginning,” Johnson said. “(Scott) is a good player and he’s hard to guard.”
Scott, who averages 17.9 points per game, scored eight in the first two frames.
“We talked about it not being a personal battle,” Benton said. “Javonte is a very special player, and we have some very special players, but we talked a lot about staying together as a team because the team that stays a team the most was going to win this.”
And they did. With Scott limited, the Rangers saw seniors Noah Baca and Ethan Forrester step up with 12 points each in the first half.
“It’s definitely nice not to have that one guy scoring every night,” said senior Matthew Ragsdale, who finished with 15 points. “Our whole team is talented and we can all score. Our key is just to play together and get the ball to the guy with the hot hand, but we can go to any open guy with confidence. I just think we do a really good job of playing as a team."
Ragsdale missed the first five games of the season due to a foot injury, but jumped back in, averaging 17.4 points per game through his first nine games back.
But as the teams emerged from the locker rooms, Lewis-Palmer had a different defensive scheme in place with a 22-point lead, and Johnson and Scott were free to put up points.
Scott finished with a game-high 24 points, followed by Forrester (21), Baca (18) and Ragsdale (15) as four of the five Rangers starters finished in double figures. Tre McCullough, the fifth starter, finished with seven points after sitting out most of the first half for a technical.
Within the first two minutes of the third quarter, Johnson had already doubled his point total from the first half. He finished with 15 points - 11 of which were scored in the third alone.
Will Louis scored 11 for Cheyenne Mountain, followed by nine from Jaedn Harrison.
“It was starting to click a little bit in the second half but we were already in the hole too deep at that point,” Johnson said. “They weren’t guarding me as hard so I was getting some more opportunities to score.
“This game was honestly just a wake-up call. We haven’t really played anyone as hard as L-P so this should toughen us up for the rest of the season.”