Boys Basketball: Eaglecrest rally falls short, Mountain Vista ends Raptors’ repeat run

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Eaglecrest-Mountain Vista 5A Great 8 boys basketball 3.7.14
Eaglecrest senior Marquel Murphy reacts after the Raptors’ 65-61 loss to Mountain Vista in a Class 5A Great 8 boys basketball game on March 7, 2014, at the Denver Coliseum. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

DENVER | It’s tough being the champs, which the Eaglecrest boys basketball team found out frequently this season.

After winning the 2013 Class 5A state crown, the Raptors faced the best effort every team on their rugged schedule could muster, including the one they saw from Mountain Vista in Friday night’s 5A Great 8 contest at the Denver Coliseum.

In the fourth quarterfinal contest of a packed night, Eaglecrest fought all the way back from a seven-point deficit to tie the game on a pair of clutch free throws by junior Elijah Ross with 13.7 seconds left, but Jake Pemberton put the Golden Eagles ahead again with two free throws at the other end and Mountain Vista hung on to win 65-61.

Junior Blend Avdili scored a team-high 15 points for coach John Olander’s Raptors, who also got 13 points apiece from Ross and senior Jaisean Jackson and 12 from senior Marquel Murphy. Senior LaDerian King grabbed 10 rebounds to go with six points.

Eaglecrest finished 18-7 overall, with the seven losses including one to each of the four teams remaining in the Final Four — the four No. 1 seeds: Mountain Vista, Fossil Ridge, Denver East and Centennial League rival Overland — by a combined total of 15 points.

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

(1) MOUNTAIN VISTA 65, (2) EAGLECREST 61

Score by quarters:

Eaglecrest   15   13   15  18 — 61

Mtn. Vista   17    8   23  17 — 65

EAGLECREST (61)

Elijah Ross 3 6-6 13, LaDerian King 3 0-0 6, Jaisean Jackson 3 6-7 13, Marquel Murphy 4 0-0 12, Blend Avdili 6 2-4 14, Treyvon Williams 1 1-2 3, Colbey Ross 0 0-0 0, Peter Anderson 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 15-20 61.

MOUNTAIN VISTA (65)

Jake Pemberton 4 6-6 15, Carson Simon 5 0-0 10, Brady Subart 6 0-0 16, Graham Smith 2 7-9 11, Raymond Beresford 5 1-4 12, Jonathan Moore 0 1-2 1, Isaac Phillips 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 15-21 65.

3-point field goals — Eaglecrest (6): Marquel Murphy 4, Jaisean Jackson, Elijah Ross; Mountain Vista (6): Brady Subart 4, Raymond Beresford, Jake Pemberton. Total fouls — Eaglecrest 16, Mountain Vista 19. Fouled out — Mountain Vista: Carson Simon. Technical fouls — None.