GREENWOOD VILLAGE | Back during an 0-9 start to the season, a spot in the Sweet 16 round of the Class 5A state playoffs seemed nearly impossibly to imagine for the Regis Jesuit boys basketball team.
Yet that’s exactly where the Raiders — who have only lost four games in the past two months since the inauspicious beginning — have ended up after they pulled off the upset (at least by seeding numbers) of the tournament so far Saturday.
Coach Ken Shaw’s 29th-seeded Regis Jesuit team went into Cherry Creek and dealt the fourth-seeded Bruins a 69-65 loss that put an unexpected twist on the Kent Smith Region of the 5A bracket. The Raiders (12-13) earned their way into the Sweet 16, where they will visit 13th-seeded Denver East (21-3) March 4.
In a game that see-sawed back and forth for the whole afternoon in front of a raucous crowd on both sides, Regis Jesuit — fresh off a four-point win over Monarch in the opening round — edged past the Centennial League champions in the last two minutes and held on to reach the Sweet 16 for the second time in the past three seasons.
Junior Michael Wolf made a jumper to put the Raiders ahead in the late stages of the final period and they upped the edge to as much as seven points before the Bruins made a last-gasp run to catch up.
Regis Jesuit’s win was one of six on the day for Aurora programs, which make up a good portion of the Sweet 16. Only two city teams (No. 22 Overland and No. 37 Hinkley) lost in the second round and both defeats came to other Aurora teams (No. 11 Eaglecrest and No. 5 Grandview, respectively).
Top-seeded Rangeview (over Arvada West), 10th-seeded Smoky Hill (over Fossil Ridge) and 15th-seeded Vista PEAK (over No. 18 Windsor) also advanced.
Updated 5A boys state basketball scoreboard and schedule, here.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
(29) REGIS JESUIT 69, (4) CHERRY CREEK 65
Score by quarters:
Regis Jesuit 10 16 20 23 — 69
Cherry Creek 10 15 19 21 — 65