Boys Basketball: Shorthanded Cherokee Trail grinds past Lakewood to reach Sweet 16

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AURORA | Minus both its double-digit scorers, the Cherokee Trail boys basketball team needed all hands on deck for Saturday afternoon’s Class 5A second round playoff game against visiting Lakewood.

Freshmen David Thornton and Ronnie Barfield combined for 15 points and the second-seeded Cougars made just enough plays and hit just enough free throws down the stretch to hold off the seventh-seeded Tigers 69-66.

RJ Perry scored 15 points, Thornton had nine and Solomon Yon, Izaiah Lottie and Anthony Murray contributed eight points apiece as Cherokee Trail — which played without Roderick Bernstine (18.8 points per game) and Jay Nelson (11.7 ppg) — moved on to 5A’s Sweet 16. The Cougars (17-7) will play host to Centennial League rival and sixth-seeded Cherry Creek, which upset third-seeded Aurora Central at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Centennial League champion Cherokee Trail beat the Bruins twice in league play, but had to rally from a 13-point deficit in the second half to win the last meeting between the teams.

Coach Morgan Gregory expects to have Bernstine, who suffered a strained MCL in the team’s regular season finale at Arapahoe, back for the Sweet 16 contest.

The Cougars beat Cherry Creek 64-50 on Jan. 18 and 66-59 on Feb. 13.

Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555

(2) CHEROKEE TRAIL 69, (7) LAKEWOOD 66

Score by quarters:

Lakewood   12  17  12  25 — 66

Cher. Trail  23  13  19  14 — 69

LAKEWOOD (66)

Irhad Kozic 1 0-0 2, Nermin Kozic 5 8-12 18, Meir Holmes 6 3-3 18, Evan O’Dorisio 8 6-6 24, Guy Young 1 0-0 2, Michael Crespin 1 0-1 2, Michael Copley 0 0-0 0, Fox Maikovich 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 17-22 66.

CHEROKEE TRAIL (69)

RJ Perry 4 5-7 15, Evan White 1 0-0 2, Solomon Yon 0 8-8 8, Izaiah Lottie 3 0-0 8, Anthony Murray 3 1-7 8, Tyler Larkin 3 0-1 6, David Thornton 4 1-3 9, Kennedy Littleton 3 0-0 6, Ronnie Barfield 3 1-2 7. Totals 24 16-28 69.

3-point field goals — Lakewood (5): Meir Holmes 3, Evan O’Dorisio 2; Cherokee Trail (5): Izaiah Lottie 2, RJ Perry 2, Anthony Murray. Total fouls — Lakewood 24, Cherokee Trail 19. Fouled outLakewood: Irhad Kozic; Cherokee Trail: Tyler Larkin, Evan White. Technical fouls — None.