CENTENNIAL | The Eaglecrest boys basketball team shook off the rust in time to get a big Centennial League victory against rival Grandview Wednesday night.
Playing their first game in three weeks, the Raptors struggled for two quarters, but got a big half from senior TreShawn Wilford to get past the neighborhood rival Wolves 46-38 in the league opener for both.
Junior Jaisean Jackson added nine points for coach John Olander’s Eaglecrest team, which used an 18-2 run between the late third and early fourth quarter to take control and improve to 7-2 overall and 1-0 in league play.
“First game coming back off such a long layoff, I was just proud of our guys,” said Olander, whose team last played Dec. 15 at the KSA Holiday Classic in Orlando, Fla.
“We looked rusty, ” he added. “A big game right out of the gate. A lot of the things we worked on we didn’t execute, so hopefully we got those first-game jitters out of the way and the game-slippage that happens when the crowd is going. I was proud of the way we defended. We were tough, physical and we helped each other.”
Senior Tanner Gentry’s 13 points paced the Wolves, who lost their second straight since returning from a pre-Christmas break trip to California and are 6-4 overall. Akram Imam, Devon Brown and Aaron Montgomery had five each for Grandview, which got just four points from leading scorer Eric Garcia.
Coach Gary Childress’ Wolves — who lost to Regis Jesuit a few days earlier — looked strong from the start when their outside shots were falling, including a pair of first-quarter 3-pointers by Brown and reserve Montgomery.
Grandview built a lead as large as eight points midway through the second quarter following Garcia’s pull-up triple at the top of the key and a slashing layup by Gentry, but the Wolves didn’t score for the remaining 3 minutes, 12 seconds of the half as Eaglecrest got within four points at the break.
“You always have a little rust coming back, but we came back and got it done,” said Wilford, who had two of the Raptors’ four first-half field goals. “Playing Grandview is always tough, so it was a great win.”
The Wolves tried to pull away again the third quarter, going up seven points at 28-21 on Branden Cosby-Lee’s two-handed dunk with 3:05 left in the period, but managed just two points over the next six minutes of play.
Wilford had eight points in the third period and the Raptors finally got the game tied at 29-29 in the first 15 seconds of the final quarter on a pair of Jackson free throws.
From there, it was all Eaglecrest, as Wilford’s pressure on the ball created a rash of Grandview turnovers and produced 10 more quick points to give the Raptors a nine-point edge with 4:57 left.
“TreShawn is just such a heady defender, he’s always been that way,” Olander said. “He’s just smart and he’s always been that way. If he plays like that on the defensive end, we’re going to get a lot of easy baskets because he’s going to get his hands on a lot of balls.”
Imam’s basket with 4:25 remaining finally ended the Wolves’ drought, but Eaglecrest kept the margin at no less than seven points the rest of the way.
Rayjon Craig had a pair of big tip-ins, Blend Avdili was active on the interior and the Raptors went 9-for-10 from the foul line — 5-for-6 for Jackson and 4-for-4 for Wilford — to close it out.
There’s no panic for a veteran Grandview team, but the Wolves are searching for some answers as they fell to 3-3 against Colorado teams.
“We can’t seem to play like we want to play; it’s just not clicking I guess,” Gentry said. “I couldn’t tell you what it is, but we need to figure it out because we’re a lot better team than we’re showing.”
The teams — which split the two-game Centennial League series last season — meet again in a 7 p.m. contest on Feb. 1 at Grandview.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555
EAGLECREST 46, GRANDVIEW 38
Score by quarters:
Grandview 12 7 10 9 — 38
Eaglecrest 8 7 12 19 — 46
Eric Garcia 1 1-3 4, Tanner Gentry 4 4-6 13, Devon Brown 2 0-0 5, Branden Cosby-Lee 2 0-2 4, Akram Imam 2 1-2 5, Aaron Montgomery 2 0-0 5, Blake Weeks 0 0-0 0, JR Smith 0 2-2 2, Jarred Burr 0 0-0 0, Jameson Cusworth 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 8-15 38.
TreShawn Wilford 4 11-12 21, Maurice Perez 0 1-2 1, Sean Watkins 1 2-2 4, Jaisen Jackson 2 5-8 9, Blend Avdili 2 1-5 5, Rayjon Craig 2 0-0 4, LaDerian King 1 0-1 2, Elijah Ross 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 20-30 46.
3-point field goals — Grandview (4): Devon Brown, Eric Garcia, Tanner Gentry, Aaron Montgomery; Eaglecrest (2): TreShawn Wilford 2. Total fouls — Grandview 20, Eaglecrest 14. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.