Boys Basketball: Aurora Central deals Overland first defeat at Rock Canyon Shootout


HIGHLANDS RANCH | Carlton Hurst doesn’t plan, he reacts.

That’s what makes for a potential highlight every time the Aurora Central senior has the basketball in his hands. He added several plays to his lengthy highlight reel Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the Rock Canyon Winter Shootout.

With a variety of dunks and attacks of the rim — in which he soared over 6-foot-9 Overland freshman De’Ron Davis several times, including once on a key sequence in the fourth quarter — the Colorado State signee scored 14 of the Trojans’ last 16 points and finished with 34 for the game as the Trojans triumphed 69-64 over the Trailblazers, who suffered their first loss.

“I had the same situation happen to me against South; it was just a reaction-type deal,” said Hurst, who was called for a charge on a monster dunk over Denver South’s 6-foot-7 Ibrahim Sylla in a key fourth-quarter sequence of the previous game.

“I was just happy I scored the basket because we needed it at the time; that’s why I attacked the basket hard,” he added.

It was a much-needed victory for coach Ian Calvert’s Aurora Central team, which lost tight games to Highlands Ranch and Denver South in the previous week and would have dropped to .500 with a defeat. The Trojans (5-3) take on Mullen at 4 p.m. Friday in the second game of the tournament.

Leonard Hurst and LaDarius Thomas had 11 points each and Lonnie White added nine for Aurora Central, which got just two points from senior Tyler Stephenson — the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.3 points per game — before he left the game five minutes into the first quarter with a deep cut on his shooting hand.

Austin Conway had 20 points, Khalil Jenkins 14 — all in the second half — and Davis added nine for Overland, which dropped to 6-1. The Trailblazers are set to face Palmer at 6 p.m. Friday.

While Hurst provided big plays and knocked down four free throws in the final 22.7 seconds, fellow senior Leonard Hurst and freshman point guard Thomas also had a big hand in the victory.

The pair accounted for just three points in the first half, but Leonard Hurst had nine in the third period — and 11 in the second half — and Thomas knocked down two 3-pointers and had eight points in the decisive fourth quarter.

“I told them in the lockerroom, Carlton will take care of it for us fellas, but you have to let him have some opportunities to breathe,” Calvert said. “Having Leonard go on a 6-0 run by himself and LaDarius going on an eight or nine-point run by himself was big.”

Davis tied the game at 61-61 with an up-and-under layup with 2:45 remaining in the game, but the key sequence took place a minute later.

With the floor spread and clock just under two minutes remaining, Carlton Hurst drove straight at the ballyhooed big man and went up for a dunk. At the top of his leap — and with his head nearly even with the rim — Hurst lost control of the ball as he collided with Davis, but the ball banked off the backboard and went in the basket.

The Trojans held the lead for the rest of the game, though the Trailblazers had their chances.

Trailing by three with 14.8 seconds left, Overland called a time out and got the ball to Davis, whose 3-point shot came up short.

Leonard Hurst took down the rebound and was fouled, converting both shots for the final margin.

It was a big victory in the scope of a rugged first half of the season that has also seen Aurora Central play Rangeview, Highlands Ranch, Overland and Denver South — and will include a matchup with undefeated Arapahoe in the finale of the tournament on Saturday — but Carlton Hurst feels his team will benefit greatly from the rough slate.

“This is a learning process for us; we wanted this, we needed this,” he said. “We want to play harder games this year so we can be prepared for the playoffs. We knew we weren’t going to go undefeated this year because there were some people who needed to learn. We have a freshman point guard and some seniors who are in their first varsity year.”

The game was also a learning experience for a talented young Overland team that suffered its first setback on the season after surpassing its win total from the entire 2011-12 season in its previous game against Gateway at the Pepsi Center.

“We just gave Carlton too much time with the ball in his hands,” Jenkins said. “We work hard in practice, so we’ll bounce back.”

Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555


Score by quarters:
Aurora Central  7  19  19  24 — 69
Overland            9  18  19  18 — 64


LaDarius Thomas 4 1-2 11, Carlton Hurst 12 9-10 34, Marcus Tripplett 0 2-2 2, Leonard Hurst 4 3-4 11, Tyler Stephenson 1 0-0 2, Lonnie White 3 2-2 9, Kavion Mason 0 0-0 0, A’Deril Agnew 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 17-20 69.


Taren Williams 1 0-0 3, Jaylen McDonald 0 0-0 0, Andrew Tillman 3 1-1 7, Austin Conway 9 2-4 20, De’Ron Davis 4 1-2 9, Tre Thomas 3 0-0 6, Tyler Stevenson 1 0-0 3, King Grant-Perry 1 0-0 2, Khalil Jenkins 5 2-2 14, Jervae Robinson 0 0-0 0, Reggie Gibson 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 6-9 64.

3-point field goals — Aurora Central (4): LaDarius Thomas 2, Carlton Hurst, Lonnie White; Overland (4): Khalil Jenkins 2, Tyler Stevenson, Taren Williams. Total fouls — Aurora Central 12, Overland 20. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.