AURORA | The Overland boys basketball team has been surviving things of late that cost them victories earlier in the season.
The Trailblazers committed too many crunch time turnovers and missed too many fourth quarter free throws (four) for coach Danny Fisher’s liking Monday night, but still came out on the winning end of a 52-41 decision over visiting Rangeview.
Costly mistakes helped Overland drop four games by seven or fewer points during an 0-5 start, but it has been playing well enough to overcome them during a three-game winning streak since returning from winter break.
“We’re on the other side of the column now; we’re still a little bit sloppy, but it’s good for the guys’ morale to get some victories, for sure,” said Fisher, whose team followed up Centennial League victories over Eaglecrest and Cherry Creek to improve to 4-7.
“I feel like we’re still plagued by the things that happened to us earlier,” he added. “Missing free throws late, turning the ball over late and decision making, so we still have a ways to go.”
Fisher believes his team took a step forward with its showing prior to winter break at the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas, where the Trailblazers went 1-3 and tangled with some of the country’s best programs such as host Bishop Gorman and California’s Rancho Christian.
The fruits of that experience seem to be paying off as play resumes for Overland.
Against Rangeview, the senior backcourt of Tucson Redding and Daijon Smith combined for 28 points and senior Laolu Oke chipped in 10 more for the Trailblazers.
After an extremely low-scoring first half that ended with Overland ahead 19-17, the Trailblazers gained some separation in an 18-point third quarter — including eight from Redding, who finished with a game-high 16 points — and kept the Raiders down by double figures for the entire fourth quarter.
Coach Shawn Palmer’s Rangeview team managed its second-lowest offensive output of the season, with its 41 points the fewest in any game other than the 27 it had in a loss to Grandview.
On a beefed up non-league schedule, the Raiders (6-5) played six of the eight Centennial League teams and finished 2-4 with wins over Cherry Creek and Arapahoe and losses to Grandview, Cherokee Trail, Smoky Hill and Overland.
Sophomores Christian and Christopher Speller scored seven points apiece to pace Rangeview, while junior Jodaun Dotson — who made two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter in the Raiders’ last gasp in the fourth quarter — and senior Ryan Ongala added six apiece.
Rangeview delves into EMAC play for the first time with a 7 p.m. visit to Hinkley Jan. 12, while Overland turns around to play host to Smoky Hill (7-4, 0-2) looking to go to 3-0 in Centennial League play.
“You can’t blink in this league,” Fisher said. “When you win a game, you huddle up, break and go on to the next one. You can’t hold on to any of this for too long.”
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
OVERLAND 52, RANGEVIEW 41
Score by quarters:
Rangeview 7 10 10 14 — 41
Overland 6 13 18 15 — 52
Devin Collins 1 3-4 5, Isaiah Hayes 1 0-0 3, Jodaun Dotson 2 0-0 6, Christopher Speller 3 1-6 7, Ryan Ongala 1 4-6 6, Christian Speller 3 1-2 7, Ayden Clayton 2 0-0 5, Eric Jackson 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 9-18 41.
Daijon Smith 4 4-9 12, Tucson Redding 6 2-2 16, Stephen Hayes 0 0-0 0, Goy Wang 0 0-0 0, Laolu Oke 5 0-0 10, Hezekiah Swanson 0 2-2 2, Alex Pena-Avila 2 0-0 4, Jalone Rice 1 0-0 3, Graham Ike 0 2-2 2, Trevon Deden 1 0-0 2, Wacim Benyoucef 0 1-2 1. Totals 19 11-17 52.
3-point field goals — Rangeview (4): Jodaun Dotson 2, Ayden Clayton, Isaiah Hayes; Overland (3): Tucson Redding 2, Jalone Rice. Total fouls — Rangeview 18, Overland 20. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.