AURORA | A week off after the conclusion of the regular season might have affected the Overland boys basketball team at the start of Saturday’s Class 5A state tournament second round game against Castle View, but the Trailblazers soon found their form.
A 21-7 third quarter in favor of coach Danny Fisher’s top-seeded Overland team blew the game open and it went on to a decisive 71-50 victory over the eighth-seeded SaberCats in front of a playoff-hyped home crowd.
Junior Reggie Gibson poured in a game-high 24 points and juniors De’Ron Davis and Alijah Halliburton added 15 apiece for the Trailblazers, who earned passage into 5A’s Sweet 16. Overland (19-5) will be on its home floor again at 7 p.m. March 4 to play fourth-seeded Grand Junction, which downed fifth-seeded Northglenn 68-57.
“It was a fairly mature performance by our guys; they were focused on business as usual,” said Fisher, whose team won its 13th straight game.
“It’s tough with that bye and having such a long time off,” added Fisher, whose team last played Feb. 20 against Grandview. “It’s such a long week of practice that it requires a little bit more focus. If we plan on being back in Boulder, we’re going to have to be really focused.”
Three other Aurora teams joined the Trailblazers in the Sweet 16, including both of the other two top seeds in Eaglecrest — a 68-46 winner over No. 8 Heritage — and Regis Jesuit, which downed No. 8 Grandview 66-50, plus second-seeded Rangeview. The Raiders exploded in the second half to bury No. 10 Highlands Ranch 66-45.
Eaglecrest, Rangeview and Regis Jesuit also had to get back into a rhythm after a week hiatus and all found an early challenge against their opponents who were coming off first round victories. Fourth-seeded Cherokee Trail also had an opening round bye and ended up falling to upstart Boulder.
Fisher said he wanted to make his team “uncomfortable,” so he requested a 2 p.m. game time, a big departure from the Trailblazers’ regular 7 p.m. start times.
“From now on, nothing in the state tournament is like you’ve been doing all season, so you have to be able to adapt,” he said.
Castle View (10-15) came off a 66-64 overtime win over Fountain-Fort Carson in the opening round and hung with Overland for the first two quarters, as it trailed by just seven points at halftime.
But Overland got going in a big way in the third quarter with a spark from Halliburton, who tallied seven points in the period, as many as the SaberCats produced.
With the lead at 21 points going into the fourth quarter, most of the Trailblazers’ starters went to the bench save for Gibson, who poured in nine points in the quarter.
“Reg was comfortable from start to finish; he made all the right decisions, he knew when to press and get his shot off and when not to,” Fisher said. “I think he was 8-for-12 from the field, so he picked and chose his spots really well. To have 24 points on 12 shots in a game of this magnitude? That’s shows real maturity and confidence.”
Fisher also lauded the efforts of senior guard Austin Conway, who scored just four points, but contributed as much anybody to the victory with his play on both ends.
“Austin play better than anybody as far as an all-around game,” Fisher said. “He may have been frustrated that his shots weren’t falling, but he had 8 or 9 assists and defensively, whoever on their team we felt was starting to sniff a little bit of a rhythm, we bumped Austin over on him and he took care of it.”
Senior King Grant-Perry punctuated Overland’s victory with a steal and fast break dunk that brought his whole team up off the bench.
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) OVERLAND 71, (8) CASTLE VIEW 50
Score by quarters:
Castle View 10 16 7 17 — 50
Overland 16 17 21 17 — 71
CASTLE VIEW (50)
Herman 5 1-4 12, Langfeldt 1 0-0 2, Dalke 2 0-2 5, Davis 3 2-2 9, Ellis 3 0-0 6, Brack 0 0-0 0, Samuelson 1 2-2 4, Lucia 2 2-2 8, McDermott 1 2-2 4, Hazlehurst 0 0-0 0, Laufenberg 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 9-14 50.
Reggie Gibson 8 4-7 24, Austin Conway 2 0-0 4, Padiet Wang 1 0-0 3, De’Ron Davis 6 3-5 15, Ryan Swan 1 1-4 3, King Grant-Perry 3 1-2 7, Alijah Halliburton 7 1-1 15, Brent Halliburton 0 0-0 0, Malik Clark 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 10-19 71.
3-point field goals — Castle View (5): Lucia 2, Dalke, Davis, Herman; Overland (4): Reggie Gibson 3, Padiet Wang. Total fouls — Castle View 20, Overland 16. Fouled out — Castle View: Dalke. Technical fouls — None.