VALLEY—Like the harsh winds that blow through the San Luis Valley, the final day of the state tournaments, which took place in northern Colorado, was unforgiving to the four San Luis Valley teams that played on Saturday. The Centauri Lady Falcons and Del Norte Lady Tigers each finished in fourth place while the Creede/Lake City Miners and Del Norte boys each fell in the consolation championship games.
Sterling 35, Centauri 26 (G)
DENVER—The Falcons saw their season end on a sour note as they dropped their final two games of the season including Saturday’s third place game in which the Sterling Tigers were able to rally for a lead in the second quarter that they never relinquished.
The game, that saw the No. 1 seeded Tigers and No. 2 seeded Falcons square off, had a bit of heaviness in the air after Centauri’s Friday buzzer-beating loss to the No. 3 seeded Lamar Savages. The Tigers were forced to the third-place game after Colorado Springs Christian School, the No. 4 seed, defeated them, 39-26.
The Falcons trailed to start the game. However, Ember Canty scored five points in the first quarter to give Centauri a 9-8 lead.
The second quarter then swung in the way of the Tigers as they scored 11 points to Centauri’s seven to make the halftime score 19-16 at the break.
The Falcons were then outscored 7-5 in the third quarter with three different players scoring to make the score 26-21. The Falcons then scored five points, all of them coming from the free throw line from Canty. Abbey Brower, who fouled out with 1:44 left to go in the game, scored two field goals for the Tigers in the fourth quarter to seal the game.
Akron 47, Del Norte 46 (B)
LOVELAND—The most competitive game for the San Luis Valley was the boys’ consolation game in Class 2A as the Tigers were stunned by a late 3-pointer by the Akron Rams.
It was a 13-11 Akron lead over Del Norte after one quarter that saw the Rams showing off from long range by hitting 5-of-8 in the first half. Jordan Herder was one of the main snipers with three treys on his way to 12 points in the first half.
Balanced scoring from the Tigers kept them in the game as five players scored including Carlos Parra, who led the way with seven points. Del Norte went 3-of-6 from the free throw line in the half, while Akron went 8-of-11 and the Rams led 29-20.
Del Norte rallied back and earned a lead in the third. The lead would not stick with the Tigers though as a 3-point shot from Brock Benson ultimately gave the victory to Akron. The Rams did not shoot a free throw the entire second while Del Norte hit 7-of-9 from the free throw to keep pace. Herder was the leading scorer with 19 while Parra led the Tigers with 17.
Del Norte, who officially finished the season sixth, finished with a 22-5 record.
Yuma 46, Del Norte 40 (G)
LOVELAND—The Yuma Indians defeated the Del Norte Tigers 46-40.
After one quarter, the Indians led by three, 10-7. Both teams went cold to begin the second quarter as they were unable to find the basket. Only nine points were scored between both teams and at the half Yuma had the lead at 17-10.
The second half belonged to Yuma as they were on a path to avenge their loss against Wray. A 9-2 run to open the half saw Yuma never look back. Del Norte did get close on a number of occasions but couldn't get the buckets they needed to top No. 1 seeded Yuma. Yuma has now finished in the top-3 in the past five state tournaments
Del Norte ended their campaign with a 22-4 overall record.
Liberty Christian 52, Creede/Lake City 47
GREELEY—In the most physical game of the tournament, Longmont Christian defeated Creede/Lake City 52-47 to claim the consolation championship. The teams were each called for 26 fouls, resulting in 72 free throw attempts. Dominic Puchino led a trio of Warriors in double figures with 16 points. Luke Puchino added 13 and Cameron Jauregui tallied 12. Casper Freedle had 14 for the Miners and Regnor VonDedenroth chipped in 11 points off the bench.
The first trip to state by Longmont Christian saw the Warriors taking home the trophy for the consolation championship, and the season ends with a 22-5 record. Creede/Lake City finished its season at 16-8.