LITTLETON | Before they disperse in July to improve their individual fortunes, Overland boys basketball players work on team in June.
That process has gone very well so far, as coach Danny Fisher’s Trailblazers finished off a 6-0 run through the annual C3 Challenge Thursday at Arapahoe High School with a 63-59 win over Chaparral. It was the second straight summer tournament victory in a row for Overland, which came into the three-day C3 Challenge after winning the Metro State tournament.
Over three days of play at both Rock Canyon and Arapahoe high schools, the Trailblazers — largely intact as the team that will play the 2017-18 season in the winter — showed the grit and the chemistry needed to defeat every opponent they faced, including the Wolverines of the Continental League, whose hot shooting gave them the other undefeated record going into the final matchup.
Fisher’s team had a pair of all-tournament team selections in seniors-to-be Tucson Redding and Laolu Oke, who were large in the final game, as was Daijon Smith, Goy Wang and a variety of other players who have clear roles on the team. Overland played Chaparral minus Stephen Hayes, an expected regular in the lineup during the winter season, though he was with them at other points during the tournament.
The Trailblazers led from start to finish against the Wolverines, as they maintained a double-digit edge all the way down into the final minute.
On their way to the title game, the Trailblazers dealt coach Ken Shaw’s Regis Jesuit team its only loss, a 66-54 defeat in the semifinals. Led by all-tournament selection in big man Matt Wheelock and playmaker Elijah Martinez, the Raiders finished 5-1 despite playing much of the tournament without senior-to-be Sam Bannec, who suffered an injury the first day.
Coach Anthony Hardin’s Smoky Hill team played all six of its games at Rock Canyon and won five of them, with its only loss coming on a buzzer-beater against Rock Canyon, a team that made last season’s Class 5A semifinals. John Harge represented the Buffaloes on the all-tournament team.
Cherokee Trail posted a 4-2 record with all-tournament selection Tyson Rodgers leading the way for coach Morgan Gregory’s Cougars.
Under the guidance of new coach Keenon Clement, Vista PEAK — included in the Centennial League standings in place of Eaglecrest for this tournament — split its six contests while missing some key pieces and incorporating a variety of young players. Senior-to-be Te’Rae Johnson played his way onto the all-tournament team.
Not at full strength, Grandview finished 2-4.
The Centennial League — which has produced the last three state champions in Overland (2015 & 2016) and Eaglecrest (2017) — ruled the tournament again with a 28-20 overall record, followed by the Continental League at 25-23 and the Colorado League (a mix of teams from across the state) at 19-29.
Teams finish off summer league play in the next two weeks before some players head off to club teams which travel in July.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2017 C3 CHALLENGE BOYS BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
June 13-15 at Arapahoe & Rock Canyon high schools
Champion: OVERLAND (6-0). Runner-up: Chaparral (5-1)
Final records: Centennial League — OVERLAND (6-0), SMOKY HILL (5-1), CHEROKEE TRAIL (4-2), Arapahoe (3-3), Mullen (3-3), VISTA PEAK (3-3), Cherry Creek (2-4), GRANDVIEW (2-4). Total record: 28-20
Continental League — Chaparral (5-1), REGIS JESUIT (5-1), Rock Canyon (5-1), Mountain Vista (4-2), Castle View (2-4), Heritage (2-4), ThunderRidge (2-4), Ponderosa (0-6). Total record: 25-23
Colorado League — Doherty (4-2), Golden (4-2), Rocky Mountain (3-3), Chatfield (2-4), Columbine (2-4), Valor Christian (2-4), Fairview (1-5), Fruita Monument (1-5). Total record: 19-29
All-Tournament Team: JOHN HARGE (SMOKY HILL), Connor Staib (Mountain Vista), TE’RAE JOHNSON (VISTA PEAK), Adam Thistlewood (Golden), Sam Masten (Rock Canyon), TYSON RODGERS (CHEROKEE TRAIL), MATT WHEELOCK (REGIS JESUIT), Ronnie DeGray (Chaparral), Kobe Sanders (Chaparral), TUCSON REDDING (OVERLAND), LAOLU OKE (OVERLAND)