AURORA | Deep in the right corner as the last seconds ticked off the clock and a packed house dialed up the decibels, Julian Carrizales convinced himself there was no way he could miss if he got the chance.
It didn’t take much for the confident Vista PEAK junior guard to believe and he was spot on when he took a pass from teammate Nasir Mills, rose up and launched a sweet shot that sent the Rangeview gym into hysterics.
Carizzales’ 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds remaining — his only basket of the night — held up as the game-winner as the Bison prevailed over the rival Raiders 51-48 in front of so many spectators that many outside were turned away. Vista PEAK netted its first win ever against Rangeview, which had won the nine meetings between the schools.
“Even before the play started, I told myself I was going to make the shot,” Carrizales said. “I always tell myself I’m going to make the shot. …Coach (Keenon Clement) always tells me ‘take your moment.’ That was my moment tonight and I took it.”
Indeed, Clement — who watched a 10-point lead in the final quarter get away from his team as coach Shawn Palmer’s Rangeview team pulled off a furious rally to tie the game at 48 on a layup by sophomore Royce Edwards — had confidence in the final play.
He gave the ball to Mills, who drove across the lane, drew the defense to him and sent a bounce pass into the waiting hands of Carrizales for the big shot.
“There is no one that has better conversations with himself than Julian,” Clement said. “He spends that time and he has that conversation, so he made that shot before Nas turned the corner. It’s incredible to see him go through that process. …He’s just a different kid, so it never even entered his mind that he might miss it.”
Mills — who missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free throw chance that helped give the Raiders life — had the option and opportunity to take it to the basket for his own shot, but quickly sized up the situation and found Carrizales for the shot.
“At first I beat them off the dribble and I was going to take it, but then I saw No. 5 (Khiem Davison) help and as soon as I passed it and I saw him jump, I knew it was perfect,” Mills said. “That was probably the most exciting play of my career right now.
“It’s been four long, hard years losing to Rangeview and we finally got one.”
Carrizales’ shot didn’t end the game, however, and the Raiders had the chance to force overtime when Edwards — who scored 10 of his team-high 14 points in the final quarter — drew a foul call on his desperation 3-point attempt with a fraction of a second left.
All three of his free throw attempts, including the third where he missed intentionally to try to get a last shot, missed and Vista PEAK held on for the victory. Junior Carson McDonald scored 19 points and junior Alante Monroe-Elazier added 10 as the Bison — ranked No. 7 in the latest CHSAANow.com Class 5A coaches poll — improved to 9-3 on the season.
Palmer’s Rangeview team, which is counting on a number of young players after some injuries prior to the season, got 14 from Edwards and 11 apiece from Davison and junior Mareon Chapman as it dropped to 3-10.
In an electric atmosphere in which no more fans were admitted when the stands were filled, McDonald scored 10 points in the opening half as the Bison (playing for the first time since Jan. 4, when it had a game against Dakota Ridge slip away) took a two-point edge into the break after Monroe-Elazier knocked down a late jump shot.
Senior Kyelin Sanders’ 3-pointer late in the third quarter sent Vista PEAK into the final quarter ahead 40-30 and the 10-point margin remained midway through the period when Mills knocked down his lone shot of the game to make it 46-36.
But the Bison would get just two more points in the next 3:58, while Davison made two baskets, senior DeMarco Duncan had a big inside basket and made a pair of free throws and Edwards sliced through the middle for the tying layup with 25 seconds left.
It set up the dramatic conclusion that eventually sent the Vista PEAK faithful out happy and set the tone for the girls game that followed in the highly-anticipated doubleheader.
“We can’t wait to go back to school on Tuesday and celebrate with everybody,” Carrizales said.
Vista PEAK and Rangeview both made the move from the now-defunct EMAC conference into the former Denver Prep League (now known as the City League) and both now enter league play. The Bison play host to Denver South at 7 p.m. Jan. 17, while the Raiders play at Hinkley at noon Jan. 21.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
(5A NO. 7) VISTA PEAK 51, RANGEVIEW 48
Score by quarters:
Vista PEAK 10 15 15 11 — 51
Rangeview 13 10 7 18 — 48
VISTA PEAK (51)
Nasir Mills 1 0-1 2, Alante Monroe-Elazier 4 2-3 10, Carson McDonald 6 4-4 19, Gabe Britton 1 0-0 2, Kyree Polk 4 0-0 8, Kyelin Sanders 2 0-0 5, Julian Carrizales 1 0-0 3. Totals 19 6-8 51.
Royce Edwards 4 6-9 14, Mareon Chapman 2 5-8 11, Kenny Black-Knox 2 0-0 4, Khiem Davison 5 1-5 11, DeMarco Duncan 2 2-2 6, Ose Okhihan 0 2-4 2, Mason Savoy 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 16-28 48.
3-point field goals — Vista PEAK (5): Carson McDonald 3, Julian Carrizales, Kyelin Sanders. Rangeview (2): Mareon Chapman 2. Total fouls — Vista PEAK 21, Rangeview 14. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — Vista PEAK: Carson McDonald