The Grandview boys basketball team won just five games all of last season, but came away with three victories (and nearly a fourth) in a four-day trip to Las Vegas to participate in the Tarkanian Classic.

The Wolves finished off a 3-1 run at the tournament in Las Vegas as one of a trio of Aurora teams to play outside of Colorado in the final week before winter break, while Overland and Smoky Hill each finished 2-2 in different brackets at the Visit Mesa Challenge in Arizona.

Grandview competed in the Gatorade Division of the Tarkanian Classic and coach Michael Rogers’ team earned fifth place with a 62-55 win in double overtime over Aquinas out of San Bernadino, California, on Thursday. Senior Colin Bilotta had 19 points, freshman Gavin Placide had 16 and senior Simon Kibbeee 10 in the win for the Wolves, who enter win break with a 5-3 record.

Grandview’s only loss in the tournament came in the championship semifinals against Democracy Prep of Las Vegas in a 52-51 defeat in double overtime in which it went just 8-for-22 from the free throw line. The Wolves defeated Basic, Nevada (78-43) in the opening round and Silverado, Nevada (73-67) in the consolation side of the winner’s bracket to get into the fifth-place game.

A balanced performance saw Bilotta average 12 points per game, Kibbee chip in 11 per contest with freshman Gallagher Placide at 9.75 per contest and Gavin Placide at 9.5. Zane Cole also had two double-digit efforts for the Wolves, as did sophomore Breven Anderson.

Smoky Hill went to Arizona after a 4-0 start in play in Colorado and split four contests — all against teams from the host state — in the On This Mountain Bracket of the Visit Mesa Challenge. Coach Anthony Hardin’s team finished with a 72-62 loss to Campo Verde, which had already played double-digit games coming in the tournament, on Thursday.

The Buffaloes defeated Red Mountain 85-62 to open the tournament, fell to Mesquite 76-67 and bounced back with a 72-55 victory over Maricopa.

Senior Rickey Mitchell had been on a scoring tear in Colorado play and continued that in the desert, as he kept that going as he averaged a whopping 26 points per game with a high of 33 points against Maricopa. Freshman Carter Basquez scored in double digits in three of the four games (and was the only other player to lead the team in scoring besides Mitchell with his 17-point outing against Mesquite) as he averaged 11.5 per game.

Sophomore Lorenzo Contreras also averaged double figures for Smoky Hill, which opens the new year in another out-of-state tournament.

Overland went 2-3 against a quality set of opponents in Colorado prior to the Arizona tournament, in which it faced two teams from Arizona and two from California, including the Oak Hills team it defeated 74-64 Thursday in the last contest in the War Eagle Bracket. Seniors Jaleel Dixon and Hamza Mursal had 23 and 20 points, respectively, while sophomore Siraaj Ali had 19 in the victory.

Coach Danny Fisher’s Trailblazers bounced back from a 68-59 loss to California’s Otay Ranch in the first game with a 59-54 defeat of Westwood, Arizona. They then dropped a 54-49 contest to Sunnyslope, Arizona.

Ali had a 25-point effort in the opening game and in the three games he played in, he averaged 18.6 points per game. Mursal finished in double figures in three games and averaged 13.8 for the tournament, while Dixon averaged 11.7.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports

Courtney Oakes is sports Editor and photographer with Sentinel Colorado. A Denver East High School alum. He came to the Sentinel in 2001 and since then has received a number of professional awards from...

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