Boys Basketball: Eaglecrest pulls away from Legend to earn return to Final Four

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Eaglecrest senior Elijah Ross (0) holds up four fingers after the Raptors earned a trip to the Class 5A Final Four with a 64-49 Great 8 win over Legend on March 7, 2015, at the Denver Coliseum. Ross had 19 points and brother Colbey added 23 as the Raptors earned a trip to the semifinals in Boulder for the first time since they won the state title in 2013. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Eaglecrest senior Elijah Ross (0) holds up four fingers after the Raptors earned a trip to the Class 5A Final Four with a 64-49 Great 8 win over Legend on March 7, 2015, at the Denver Coliseum. Ross had 19 points and brother Colbey added 23 as the Raptors earned a trip to the semifinals in Boulder for the first time since they won the state title in 2013. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

DENVER | Elijah Ross left the Denver Coliseum last season with tears in his eyes after a last second shot fell short in an Eaglecrest Great 8 loss.

On Saturday afternoon, the senior guard and the Raptors had nothing but smiles in their return, which concluded in a comfortable 64-49 victory over Legend and the program’s second trip in the past three seasons to the Final Four in Boulder.

Sophomore Colbey Ross poured in a game-high 23 points, Elijah Ross added 19 and senior Blend Avdili chipped in 16 as Eaglecrest qualified for the 5A semifinals for the first time since 2013, when it won the state championship.

The top-seeded Raptors won the Ray C. Ball Region championship and earned a spot to play on March 13 at the Coors Events Center against either No. 1 ThunderRidge, which held off No. 2 Chaparral 52-49 in a tight all-Continental League Great 8 contest.

While the Continental League had five teams in the Great 8 round, ThunderRidge was the only one to make it through to the semifinals, while Eaglecrest was later joined by fellow Centennial League powerhouse Overland, which defeated Legend. Sixth-seeded Denver East of the Denver Prep League knocked off top-seeded Regis Jesuit to earn the last spot in the Final Four.

The Raptors fell behind the hot-starting Titans early, but eventually worked their into a 12-11 advantage after one quarter and never relinquished the lead.

Ahead 39-36 after three quarters, Eaglecrest scored the first 15 points of the fourth quarter — including a deep 3-pointer by Colbey Ross coming out of a timeout — to take full control.

The Ross brothers combined to go 10-for-10 from the free throw line in the final 1:54 to seal the victory and finished a combined 17-for-20 from the charity stripe.

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

(1) EAGLECREST 64, (2) LEGEND 49

Score by quarters:

Legend        11  10  15  13 — 49

Eaglecrest  12  12  15  25 — 64

LEGEND (49)

Jared Small 7 3-4 18, Monroe Porter 4 0-2 11, Riley Matticks 1 0-0 2, Danny Garrick 4 0-0 11, Conner McCord 1 0-0 2, Blake Linder 0 0-0 0, Andre Hogan 1 0-0 3, Blake Fields 1 0-0 2, Brendan Hardy 0 0-0 0, Dave DeRosa 0 0-0 0, Jacob Barrus 0 0-0 0, Hayden Haveman 0 0-0 0. Ttoals 19 3-6 49.

EAGLECREST (64)

Elijah Ross 5 9-11 19, Colbey Ross 6 8-9 23, Peter Anderson 0 0-0 0, Anthony Karmazyn 1 0-0 2, Blend Avdili 7 1-4 16, Darian Turner 1 2-2 4, Nate Bokol 0 0-0 0, Kody Bitterman 0 0-0 0, Lonnie Jackson 0 0-0 0, DeAdrian Glosson 0 0-0 0, Matt White 0 0-0 0, Tyler Rawlins 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 20-26 64.

3-point field goals — Legend (8): Danny Garrick 3, Monroe Porter 3, Andre Hogan, Jared Small; Eaglecrest (4): Colbey Ross 3, Blend Avdili. Total fouls — Legend 21, Eaglecrest 11. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.