Smoky Hill sophomore Anthony Harris Jr. celebrates after his dunk in the fourth quarter of the Buffaloes’ 85-76 non-league boys basketball win over George Washington on Dec. 9, 2019, at Smoky Hill High School. Harris Jr. scored eight of his 14 points in the pivotal fourth quarter for the Buffaloes. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

AURORA | When it mattered most, Anthony Harris Jr. and the Smoky Hill boys basketball team turned it up a notch Monday night.

The Buffaloes trailed visiting George Washington after each of the first three quarters in front of a rowdy early season crowd before exploding for 29 points in the final period on their way to an 85-76 victory.

Harris Jr. scored eight of his 14 points in a key stretch that put Smoky Hill in front for good and junior Jalen Weaver finished off a 32-point night with five points in the final 45 seconds as coach Anthony Hardin’s Buffaloes held on to improve to 2-1.

George Washington (3-1) drained 10 3-pointers in the game — getting at least one from seven different players and putting three players in double figures, led by JJ Johnson’s 19 — and stayed just in front of Smoky Hill for the first three quarters.

The Patriots owned a four-point edge after one quarter and a one-point advantage after the second and third periods. Weaver kept the Buffaloes within range as he drained a pair of 3-pointers and scored 18 of their 39 points in the opening half. He had seven more in the third quarter, though Smoky Hill made up no ground and still trailed 57-56.

The Buffaloes posted their highest-scoring quarter of the season thus far in the final period, including a eight-point run by Harris Jr. midway through the quarter that gave them the separation they needed.

The sophomore guard pushed Smoky Hill’s lead to six points with his first 3-pointer of the game, then answered a Patriots basket by finishing a layup through contact and making the subsequent foul shot for a three-point play.

Following a George Washington miss, Harris Jr. skied to finish a dunk on a pass from senior guard Quinten Rock (12 points, half in the fourth quarter) to push the advantage to nine points with just 3:22 remaining.

George Washington never got closer than five points, as DeAngelo Horn had an inside finish and Weaver — who left briefly with a cramp — contributed a three-point play and two free throws in the final 44.1 seconds to close out the game.

Smoky Hill returns to action at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday when it faces Legacy to open the Chaparral/ThunderRidge tournament at Chaparral High School (bracket/schedule).

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

SMOKY HILL 85, GEORGE WASHINGTON 76

Score by quarters:

Geo. Wash.  20  20  17  19 — 76

Smoky Hill   16  23  17  29 — 85

GEORGE WASHINGTON (76)

Eddie McPhee 3 3-4 10, Kingbed Agyemang 1 0-0 3, Kendale Johnson 6 3-5 17, JJ Johnson 6 5-6 19, Garrett Brown 1 3-3 5, Denavion Ali 2 0-0 4, Kijuan Thompson 3 0-0 8, Darrian Hammons 1 0-0 3, Fred Edmonds 1 2-2 4, Cheick Kouyate 1 0-0 3, Tayon Sessmons 0 0-0 0, Everett Watterson 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 16-20 76.

SMOKY HILL (85)

Quinten Rock 3 8-8 14, Dasani Darnell 2 1-1 5, Jalen Weaver 8 12-18 30, DeAngelo Horn 3 0-0 7, Jordan Whitaker 0 3-6 3, Anthony Harris Jr. 5 3-4 14, Dylan Sanders 3 2-2 9, Maurice Walker II 0 1-2 1, Anthony Latham 0 0-0 0, Lamrius Royston 0 0-0 0, Quamar Neal 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 28-38 85.

3-point field goals — George Washington (10): JJ Johnson 2, Kendale Johnson 2, Kijaun Thompson 2, Kingbed Agyemang, Darrian Hammons, Cheick Kouyate, Eddie McPhee. Smoky Hill (6): Jalen Weaver 2, Anthony Harris Jr., DeAngelo Horn, Dylan Sanders. Total fouls — George Washington 26, Smoky Hill 19. Fouled outGeorge Washington: Garrett Brown. Technical fouls — None.