CENTENNIAL | The streak continues for the Eaglecrest boys basketball program, which is headed to the Sweet 16 round of the Class 5A state playoffs for the 10th consecutive season.
Twice in that span, the Raptors went on to win the state championship and they have designs on doing it again, with their path first pitting them against Highlands Ranch Saturday afternoon at The Nest.
Coach Jarris Krapcha’s sixth-seeded Eaglecrest team knocked down 10 3-pointers and finally shook off the 27th-seeded Falcons on its way to a 68-45 victory. The Raptors (19-4) earned the chance for another game on their home floor and will play host to Centennial League rival and 11th-seeded Smoky Hill at 6 p.m. March 2.
“It was a slow go and we missed some shots early, but the way they were defending, we knew they were going to give up open 3s,” Krapcha said. “In the second half, we knocked them down.”
Freshman LaDavian King was one of the most effective Eaglecrest players from the perimeter as he matched his career-high with four made 3-pointers in his first career playoff game.
King finished with a career-high 18 points, while seniors Jayden Washington and Mostapha Elmoutaouakkil added 14 and 13 points, respectively.
“I was just feeling it,” King said. “When I see an open shot, I’m going to shoot. The good part is for us, everybody can shoot. If I’m open, I’m going to shoot it, but if not, I’m going to pass it so we get a better shot.”
That happened often as the Falcons (13-11) — who topped Arvada West in the opening round — designed their defense around stopping Elmoutaouakkil, who came into the game as 5A’s third-leading scorer at 20.5 points per game.
While it had enough success to keep Elmoutaouakkil to his third-lowest scoring output of the season (and with just five points in the final three quarters after eight in the first), it opened the opportunities for other Raptors.
Besides the four 3-pointers made by King, Washington and junior DeAndre Brown also made a pair, while six Eaglecrest players finished with six or more points. Only three Highlands Ranch players, led by Sasha Stelkic with a game-high 21 points, did the same.
A 20-9 advantage in the third quarter gave Eaglecrest a comfortable lead that stayed above 20 in the closing minutes.
Eaglecrest and Smoky Hill make up half of the local contingent in the Sweet 16 with 10th-seeded Regis Jesuit — which topped Chatfield (story here) — and 13th-seeded Rangeview, which got past Cherry Creek (story here).
The Raptors and Buffaloes play the rubber game of the season series after each team won on its home court in Centennial League play — Smoky Hill won 78-60 on Jan. 5, while Eaglecrest prevailed 72-63 Jan. 29.
“It’s going to be bonkers in here,” Krapcha said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.:
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
(6) EAGLECREST 68, (27) HIGHLANDS RANCH 45
Score by quarters:
High. Ranch 11 11 9 14 — 45
Eaglecrest 13 18 20 17 — 68
HIGHLANDS RANCH (45)
Mason Moyle 1 3-4 5, Lezer Barber 4 0-1 8, Sasha Stelkic 7 4-5 21, Luke Dry 0 1-2 1, Jacob Jones 2 2-2 8, Justin Smith 0 2-2 2, Jack Bakken 0 0-0 0, Kofi Kessey 0 0-0 0, Aiden Krusoe 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 12-16 45.
LaDavian King 5 4-4 18, Peyton Taylor 2 2-4 6, Jayden Washington 4 4-4 14, Joshua Ray 1 1-2 3, Mostapha Elmoutaouakkil 5 1-2 13, Garrett Barger 3 0-0 6, DeAndre Brown 2 0-0 6, Shareef Joudon 1 0-0 2, Tristan Barger. Totals 23 12-16 68.
3-point field goals — Highlands Ranch (5): Sasha Stelkic 3, Jacob Jones 2. Eaglecrest (10): LaDavian King 4, DeAndre Brown 2, Mostapha Elmoutaouakkil 2, Jayden Washington 2. Total fouls — Highlands Ranch 13, Eaglecrest 21. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.