AURORA | The Centennial League giveth and it taketh away.
A week earlier, the Eaglecrest boys basketball team had a seemingly sure victory snatched from its grasp by Grandview, but coach John Olander’s Raptors got one back Friday night at raucous Smoky Hill High School.
Senior Colbey Ross drained a step-back 3-pointer with under one second left in regulation as Eaglecrest completed an improbable comeback of its own for a 64-63 Centennial League stunner against the Buffaloes.
Ross finished with a game-high 24 points — including seven in the final 25 seconds — juniors while Victor Garnes and Morgan Brown added 10 apiece as the Raptors moved to 11-3 overall and 5-1 in league play. Sophomore Kenny Foster scored 21 points and juniors John Harge and Jahwan Phillips had 11 apiece as coach Anthony Hardin’s Smoky Hill team dropped to 11-4 and 4-2.
The matchup lived up the hype it had coming in, with the stands completely full and a line of people hoping to get in stretching through the lobby even at halftime.
A young Smoky Hill team showed serious moxie in rallying from an eight-point halftime deficit with a 22-7 third quarter that had the Buffaloes leading by seven going into the final frame. Foster scored 14 points in the frame and had Smoky Hill and its boisterous faithful feeling a victory coming.
The Raptors kept chipping away at the deficit, however, and got a big time performance from Ross, a Pepperdine signee and last season’s Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year.
Smoky Hill appeared ready to put the game away when Eaglecrest’s Xaiv’ion Jackson missed two free throws and Phillips made two on the other end for a four-point lead with just over a minute remaining.
Senior Joshua Walton scored his only basket of the night for the Raptors to make it a two-point game again, but Harge restored the four-point bulge with a baseline jumper with just 40 seconds left.
Ross got to the free throw line and made two on the other end, then got fouled by Harge boxing out on the second free throw attempt by Smoky Hill’s Will Becker. Ross knocked down both of those foul shots as well to bring his team within 62-61 and Foster made 1-of-2 free throws for a two-point margin.
But that left an opportunity for Eaglecrest, which called a time out with 11 seconds left.
Olander said the shot he had drawn up in the huddle wasn’t available, but Ross made it happen on his own when he drove up the floor, stepped back with Foster defending and dropped in his go-ahead 3-pointer.
Time expired initially after the shot, but officials put 0.8 seconds back on the clock. A length of the court shot misfired for the Buffaloes to end the game.
The teams play again at Eaglecrest Feb. 15.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
EAGLECREST 64, SMOKY HILL 63
Score by quarters:
Eaglecrest 12 18 7 27 — 64
Smoky Hill 11 11 22 19 — 63
Colbey Ross 5 13-15 24, Austin Forsberg 1 2-2 5, Xaiv’ion Jackson 1 1-6 3, Ikenna Ozor 2 0-0 4, Nate Bokol 0 0-2 0, Victor Garnes 3 3-5 10, Joshua Walton 1 0-0 2, Morgan Brown 5 0-0 10, Jayme Rich 2 0-0 6. Totals 20 19-30 64.
SMOKY HILL (63)
Quinten Rock 0 2-2 2, Jahwan Phillips 4 2-3 11, John Harge 3 5-5 11, Will Becker 2 1-2 5, Kenny Foster 7 6-10 21, Kyle Cabs 2 3-4 8, Deon Williams 1 1-1 3, Eugene Rivers 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 21-26 63.
3-point field goals — Eaglecrest (5): Jayme Rich 2, Austin Forsberg, Victor Garnes, Colbey Ross; Smoky Hill (3): Kyle Cabs, Kenny Foster, Jahwan Phillips. Total fouls — Eaglecrest 24, Smoky Hill 24. Fouled out — Smoky Hill: John Harge. Technical fouls — None.