Boys Basketball: Eaglecrest falls a point short of Denver East in thrilling 5A final rematch

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Denver East-Eaglecrest Boys Basketball 12.16.13
Eaglecrest junior Blend Avdili holds his head in his hands after Jaisean Jackson’s final shot rimmed out in the Raptors’ 55-54 loss to Denver East on Dec. 16, 2013, at Eaglecrest High School. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

CENTENNIAL | The rematch had everything — a huge crowd, big blocked shots and a wild closing sequence, even a buzzer-beating shot attempt.

The rematch of last season’s Class 5A boys state basketball championship game was all that was expected Monday night, as visiting Denver East prevailed 55-54 over Eaglecrest in front of a packed house of hoops fans from all around.

Denver East-Eaglecrest Boys Basketball 12.16.13
Eaglecrest’s Jaisean Jackson puts up a final shot that rimmed out. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Senior Jaisean Jackson’s open shot from the lane rimmed out at the buzzer, allowing the Angels to hold on and gain a measure of revenge against the Raptors, who routed them with the 5A title on the line in March at the Coors Events Center in Boulder.

“I thought it went in, just needed a little bit less on it; you make some, you miss some, it’s fine,” said Jackson, who had given his team a one-point lead a few seconds earlier before Denver East went ahead on two Dom Collier free throws.

“It’s a heartbreaker, but it’s a good game to see where we’re at,” added Jackson, who scored nine of his 12 points in the fourth quarter. “We’ve got 20-something games left, so we’ll be fine by the time February and March comes around. …We’ll see them again, I promise.”

Junior Blend Avdili scored 14 points, Jackson added 12 and senior Marquel Murphy finished with 10 for coach John Olander’s Eaglecrest squad, which enters winter break with a 6-2 record.

While Denver East (6-0) had its entire starting lineup back from the championship game, Olander had just three regulars — Avdili, Jackson and LaDerian King — who were on the floor in that game, plus a largely new cast trying to get up to speed. It made the performance satisfying despite the disappointment.

“It was a bunch of good basketball player out their playing and it was fun to be a part of,” Olander said. “You’re still disappointed when you come out on the losing end of it. …We haven’t had a crowd that big in a long time and you don’t know how your guys are going to perform. I’m just proud of the way we just never let them get away from us, we kept fighting and fighting.”

The Angels got 15 points from Ronnie Harrell, 14 from Tyre Robinson and 10 from Jevon Griffin.

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel

DENVER EAST 55, EAGLECREST 54

Score by quarters:

Den. East. 13  15  17  10 — 55

Eaglecrest  12  9  16  17 — 54

DENVER EAST (55)

Jevon Griffin 4 1-2 10, Brian Carey 3 2-3 9, Dom Collier 2 3-5 7, Ronnie Harrell 5 4-5 15, Tyre Robinson 5 4-5 14, Jordan Willis 0 0-0 0, Randal Jones 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 14-20 55.

EAGLECREST (54)

Elijah Ross 2 0-0 4, Jaisean Jackson 4 3-4 12, Marquel Murphy 4 2-2 10, Blend Avdili 5 4-4 14, LaDerian King 3 0-2 7, Peter Anderson 1 0-0 2, Colbey Ross 2 0-0 5, Treyvon Williams 0 0-0 0, Anthony Karmazyn 0 0-0 0, Darian Turner 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 9-12 54.

3-point field goals — Denver East (3): Brian Carey, Jevon Griffin, Ronnie Harrell; Eaglecrest (3): Jaisean Jackson, LaDerian King, Colbey Ross. Total fouls — Denver East 19, Eaglecrest 18. Fouled out — Denver East: Griffin; Eaglecrest: Elijah Ross. Technical fouls — None.