Boys Basketball: Visiting Boulder upsets Cherokee Trail with Sweet 16 spot on line

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Cherokee Trail senior Izaiah Lottie (20) tries to pass around Boulder's Bill DiScipio during the second half of the Cougars' 59-50 loss to the Panthers in a Class 5A 2nd round boys state basketball playoff game on Feb. 28, 2015, at Cherokee Trail HIgh School. The Cougars' season came to an end at 15-9 overall. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Cherokee Trail senior Izaiah Lottie (20) tries to pass around Boulder’s Bill DiScipio during the second half of the Cougars’ 59-50 loss to the Panthers in a Class 5A 2nd round boys state basketball playoff game on Feb. 28, 2015, at Cherokee Trail HIgh School. The Cougars’ season came to an end at 15-9 overall. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | The home court has not been advantageous to the Cherokee Trail boys basketball team in the past two Class 5A state tournaments.

For the second straight season, the Cougars opened the postseason on their home floor and it turned out the same way, a frustratingly close loss to a lower-seeded opponent.

Cherokee Trail's Kam Brandon (1) challenges Boulder's Landon Taliaferro during the first half of the Cougars' 59-50 loss. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Cherokee Trail’s Kam Brandon (1) challenges Boulder’s Landon Taliaferro during the first half of the Cougars’ 59-50 loss. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

In 2014, Rampart nipped coach Morgan Gregory’s Cherokee Trail team by three points and on Saturday afternoon it was fifth-seeded Boulder, which edged away from the fourth-seeded Cougars and held off repeated charges for a 59-50 victory in a second round playoff matchup.

While Cherokee Trail’s season ends at 15-9, the Panthers (19-6) advanced to the Sweet 16 and will play at top-seeded Regis Jesuit — a 66-50 winner over N0. 8 Grandview — at 7 p.m. March 4.

Junior Ronnie Barfield scored nine of his team-high 13 points in the fourth quarter, but fouled out in the late stages — along with three other teammates — and the Cougars cut a double-digit deficit to four three times in the final two minutes, but couldn’t catch up.

Sophomore Jaizec Lottie added 12 points and junior David Thornton 11 for Cherokee Trail.

Boulder — which got 17 points from Garrett Turner and 13 from Landon Taliaferro — built a 10-point lead after one quarter and had the same double-digit advantage after three quarters before the Cougars threatened.

Cherokee Trail’s best chance to catch up came after Barfield scored to make it a 47-43 game with 3:05 remaining. After Boulder’s Tommy Baumgartner made 1-of-2 free throws, the Cougars forced a turnover and Taliaferro was called for a technical foul in a scrum on the floor.

Thornton made 1-of-2 free throws for the technical to get the deficit back to four points, but Cherokee Trail couldn’t convert the possession into points.

The Panthers took care of the ball and knocked down enough free throws in the closing minutes to seal the victory.

Cherokee Trail’s comeback was also hampered by foul trouble, as seniors Kam Brandon and Izaiah Lottie, Barfield and Jaizec Lottie all fouled out in the closing minutes.

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

(5) BOULDER 59, (4) CHEROKEE TRAIL 50

Score by quarters:

Boulder      17  11  10  21 — 59

Cher. Trail  7   13   8  22 — 50

BOULDER (59)

Garrett Turner 2 12-15 17, Landon Taliaferro 5 1-2 13, Morgan Hohlfelder 4 0-2 8, Tommy Baumgartner 0 6-10 6, Leif Blessing 1 4-4 6, Jack Boyle 0 1-2 1, Garrett Johnston 1 2-2 4, Bill DiScipio 1 2-2 4. Totals 14 28-39 59.

CHEROKEE TRAIL (50)

KJ Sapp 0 0-0 0, David Thornton 2 7-9 11, Jaizec Lottie 5 2-4 12, Ronnie Barfield 6 1-2 13, Izaiah Lottie 1 0-0 2, Kameron Brandon 2 0-1 4, Isaiah Gilbert 1 1-2 3, Drequez Harvey 1 0-0 3, Ammon Johnson 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 11-18 50.

3-point field goals — Boulder (3): Landon Taliaferro 2, Garrett Turner; Cherokee Trail: Drequez Harvey. Total fouls — Boulder 18, Cherokee Trail 32. Fouled out — Cherokee Trail: Ronnie Barfield, Kameron Brandon, Izaiah Lottie, Jaizec Lottie. Technical fouls — Boulder: Taliaferro.