AURORA | An extra day wait made no difference to the Smoky Hill boys basketball team, which rolled past Rocky Mountain Thursday in a Class 6A playoff opener.
The fifth-seeded Buffaloes — playing a day later than the majority of the field due to the weather Tuesday that affected their opponent, the 28th-seeded Lobos — showed balance and depth the entire way during an 80-57 victory that put the program into the Sweet 16 for the seventh consecutive season.
Senior Rickey Mitchell came into the game with scoring average of more than 24 points per game, but had a casual 14 to lead the way as seven players tallied at least seven points for coach Anthony Hardin’s Smoky Hill team, which improved to 19-5 on the season.
Freshman Kai McGrew had 13 points and junior Ray Gasaway added 11 as the other double-digit scorers for the Buffaloes, who will return to their home floor at 1 p.m. Saturday against 12th-seeded Fruita Monument, a 60-58 winner over No. 21 Fairview in the opening round.
The Smoky Hill-Fruita Monument winner moves on to the Great 8 at the Denver Coliseum.
The addition of Smoky Hill gives Aurora three teams still alive in the 6A Sweet 16 as No. 20 Eaglecrest — which faces No. 4 Denver East — and No. 7 Regis Jesuit, which plays host to No. 10 Highlands Ranch, also remain alive.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
(5) SMOKY HILL 80, (28) ROCKY MOUNTAIN 57
Score by quarters:
Rocky Mtn. 10 13 7 27 — 57
Smoky Hill 17 19 18 26 — 80
Smoky Hill points: Rickey Mitchell 14, Kai McGrew 13, Ray Gasaway 11, Carter Basquez 9, Jayson Lewis 8, Kevin Sylla 8, Kaylan Graham 7, Lorenzo Contreras 5, Damian Dirden 2, Carter Campbell 1