Thunderbirds can’t keep up with DeBeque in Championship

Senior Jake Slane drives the lane for Sangre de Cristo splitting DeBeque defenders Dillon Bumgardner (15) and Mando Candelaria (3). Slane led all Sangre de Cristo scorers with 13 points. (Vibrant Valley Photography)

PUEBLO — The 1A Boy’s State Championship was played in Massari Arena on the Colorado State University campus in Pueblo. The undefeated top ranked DeBeque Dragons would take care of business against No. 2 Sangre de Cristo 55-42.

Entering the state tournament Sangre de Cristo would dispatch all comers. Against Kit Carson the Thunderbirds rode a big third quarter to advance to the semifinals. Then in the semifinals the Thunderbirds would require an overtime period to outlast Merino setting up their meeting with a dangerous DeBeque team.

Saturday night Sangre was undaunted by the Dragons’ record and a Manuel Lopez three-pointer would give the T-Birds a 5-0 lead. The Dragons came to the table with 6 points of their own and it was game on. The two teams looked evenly matched battling to an 8-8 tie after one quarter.

DeBeque opened the second quarter with a five-point run then Sangre respond, and the two teams would call-and answer. Despite Jared Sinclair hitting a jumper to put Sangre up 16-15, the last word of the half went to DeBeque. Jaden Jordan was good from downtown at the buzzer to send the Dragons to the half leading 20-16.

From there things would come unraveled for the Thunderbirds. Slane would get Sangre on the board with a lay-up in the midst of a Dragon 7-point run. Slane would pace all Sangre scorers with 13 points on the night.

Three minutes into the second half and Sangre de Cristo was staring down the business end of a 9-point deficit. The Dragons would continue to pile on. Sangre’s Cole Christensen was held in check getting his first points from the field in the third quarter. DeBeque hustled until they were eight minutes away from a title with 39-21 lead.

Sangre de Cristo would make some ground up in the final quarter with 11 points from the charity stripe but too much damage had already been done. DeBeque would go on to claim the 2019 1A Boys’ State Title. With the loss, Sangre de Cristo took silver as the runners-up. Second place was by no means a concession on the stellar season the Thunderbirds put together and all they were able to accomplish.

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