Combined Lake City Fourteeners and Creede Miners’ Boys Varsity basketball team concluded their remarkable season with a win and two losses in last weekend’s State 1A Tournament in Greeley, finishing with a sixth place ranking in the state.
For the season, the Creede and Lake City high school boys’ team — dubbed the “Cinderella Squad’ by their coach, Bob Koets — scored an enviable eight wins, two losses in their District 6 League and ended the season with an overall 17-8 ranking among 1A schools in the state.
After advancing to the State Tournament after their playoff victory in Gunnison on March 2, the local team competed among the “Great Eight” at Bank of Colorado Arena on the University of Northern Colorado campus in Greeley on Thursday
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evening, March 9, Consolation Semis on Friday morning, March 10, and in the Consolation Finals,
Saturday morning, March 11.
In their first tournament game against the top-ranked Cheyenne Wells Tigers on Thursday, locals trailed in all four quarters, 8-11, 19-21, 30-38, ending the final quarter with a loss, final score 51 Tigers and 41 Miners/Fourteeners.
The local team was then matched against another top-rated state boys’ team, the Front Range Baptist Falcons, where they secured a victory, final score 52-47 in favor of Creede/Lake City after leading the Falcons throughout all four quarters, 11-8, 21-19, 38-30, and 51-41.
With their win in the Consolation Semis, Creede/Lake City then advanced to the Consolation Finals with a closely fought game and final points in the final seconds by Creede’s Regnor VonDedenroth, ending their season with a loss to Longmont Christian Warriors, final score 52 in the Warriors’ favor, 47 for Miners/Fourteeners. Longmont consistently led on the scoreboard in the final game, 13-9 in Longmont’s favor at the end of the first quarter, 24-19 in the second quarters, and 40-28 at the end of the third.
Ouray High School Trojans also competed in the State 1A Tournament on Thursday and Friday, losing two consecutive games to the Holly Wildcates, final score 63-24, last Thursday morning, and Longmont Christian Warriors, final score 58-47, on Friday morning, March 10.
Final 1A boys’ basketball State Championship game was held at the Budweiser Event Center in Loveland on Saturday evening, March 11, pitting the Cheyenne Wells Tigers against the Holly Wildcats. Final score for best 1A team in the state went to the Holly Wildcats, 49 to 39.
Wildcat teams from both Fleming and Kit Carson battled it out for the third place trophy on Saturday, final score 43-29 in favor of Kit Carson.
In their first State Tournament game, the Cinderella Creede/Lake City Miners/Fourteeners faced the #2 seeded Cheyenne Wells Tigers, who came into the game sporting an impressive 20-2 record. The Miners/Fourteeners played tough early but still found themselves trailing 16-7 after one quarter. In the second stanza, the Tigers’ suffocating press proved too much for the Miners/Fourteeners to handle and Cheyenne Wells went to the locker room with a 34-15 halftime lead.
The Miners continued to struggle against the
Tigers’ pressure and physical play in the second half
and the final score of 59-34 emphasized the strength
of the #2 team in the state. “We had been warned about how much more physical the State Tournament would be,” lamented coach Bob Koets, “but hearing about it and actually experiencing it are dramatically different! Still this game was a great learning experience for our young team.”
Isaac Borchers led the Creede/Lake City Scoring with 13 points, his 23rd straight game logging double digits.
CREEDE/LAKE CITY (16-7)— Freedle 2-0-4, Leggitt 2-1-5, Moore 0-1-1, VonDedenroth 0-1-1, Borchers 5-1-13, Simon 4-0-8, Romero 0-2-2. Totals: 13-6-34.
CHEYENNE WELLS (21-2) — Nelson 0-2-2, Smith 2-1-5, Roth 2-0-6, K. Pelton 5-2-14, Fisher 1-3-5, Huerta 2-0-4, Livingston 0-2-2, Halde 6-4-16, Q.Pelton 2-0-5. Totals: 20-14-59.
3-point goals: Borchers 2, Roth 2, K. Pelton 2, Q. Pelton
CREEDE/LAKE CITY 34, CHEYENNE WELLS 59
Creede/Lake City 7 8 8 11 — 34
Cheyenne Wells 16 18 13 12 — 59
The second game opponent for Creede/Lake City was #3 seed Front Range Baptist who entered the consolation game with a 20-4 record. The Falcons hit a pair of free throws to open the game but the Miners/Fourteeners countered with a try from Casper Freedle and the underdog Creede/Lake City squad never relinquished their 3-2 lead.
The upstart Creede/Lake City team led 21-19 at halftime, rode a 6 point streak to a 38-30 third quarter lead and cruised to a 51-41 final score. The victory marked the first win at State for a Creede squad since 1979. It also avenged a 70-42 loss to the Falcons on December 2, the second game of the season for the Miners/Fourteeners and their first-year coach.
The balanced scoring attack was again led by Isaac Borchers with 17. Casper Freedle added 13 and Finn Leggitt and Colter Simon pitched in 8 apiece. Colter also showed the form that made him the leading rebounder in the conference, pulling down 14 boards against a much taller Front Range Baptist opponent.
CREEDE/LAKE CITY (17-7) — Freedle 5-0-13, Leggitt 3-1-8, VonDedenroth, 0-1-1, Borchers 6-4-17, Simon 3-2-8, Romero 2-0-4. Totals: 19-8-51.
FRONT RANGE BAPTIST (20-5) — Stallings 3-0-8, Poole 1-5-8, Bates 4-2-13, Woods 4-4-12. Totals: 12-11-41.
3-point goals: Freedle 3, Bates 3, Stallings 2, Leggitt, Borchers, Poole
CREEDE/LAKE CITY 51,
FRONT RANGE BAPTIST 41
Creede/Lake City 11 10 17 13 — 51
Front Range Baptist 8 11 11 11 — 41
The Consolation Final pitted Creede/Lake City against #5 seed Longmont Christian. The 20-4 Warriors took an early lead and managed to hold the advantage for the entire game. The Miners trailed by only 5 at halftime, but Longmont Christian built their lead to 40-28 by the end of the third quarter. 26 personal fouls were called on each team and the arguably erratic officiating made it difficult for either team to find a rhythm.
Isaac Borchers fouled out with a quarter left in the game, only his second disqualification of the season. A flurry of late scoring from Regnor VonDedenroth and Codey Follman off the bench made the final margin a respectable 51-47 in favor of the higher seeded Falcons. Casper Freedle led the Creede/Lake City offense with 14 points and Regnor VonDedenroth added 11.
“While we are disappointed with the loss, we have had an outstanding experience at the State Tournament,” said Coach Koets. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of this team! They have played their hearts out in each and every game and have represented the Creede and Lake City schools with class and dignity. I have had numerous comments, many from opposing teams, about the level of sportsmanship our young team has demonstrated. Playing at the State Tournament level has given us invaluable experience and winning against Front Range Baptist to finish in sixth place is an added bonus.”
CREEDE/LAKE CITY (17-8) — Follman 1-0-2, Freedle 3-7-14, Leggitt 1-2-4, VonDedenroth, 3-4-11, Borchers 1-4-6, Simon 4-0-8, Romero 0-2-2. Totals: 13-19-47.
LONGMONG CHRISTIAN (22-5) — D. Puchino 5-6-16, Solem 1-2-4, Shellenberger 0-1-1, Jauregui 4-4-12, C. Eldred 0-3-3, L. Puchino 2-8-13, T. Eldred 0-3-3. Totals: 12-27-51.
3-point goals: Freedle, VonDedenroth, L. Puchino
CREEDE/LAKE CITY 47,
LONGMONT CHRISTIAN 52
Creede/Lake City 9 10 9 19 — 47
Longmont Christian 13 11 16 12 — 52
Creede/Lake City Outlook Bright for Next Season
The Miners/Fourteeners will enter the 2017-18 season with high hopes. They lose only one senior, Ian Scroggins, and while he will be missed the team will be looking forward to several key additions.
Dev King should join the team as a senior after surgery and rehab for his torn ACL and add much needed heft in the interior. Lake City’s Gabe Murphy should also add needed height as a sophomore and Will Patton, who has recently enrolled at Creede, should add additional firepower.
Two promising freshman, Fisher Leggitt and Fletcher Madrid, will round out what should be an even more exciting team than this year’s Cinderella Squad. “We won’t sneak up on anyone next year, after qualifying for State,” said coach Bob Koets.
“But we have gained valuable experience and know what we need to work on for next year. We are all looking forward to another exciting season.”
“On behalf of myself and the team, I would like to express our profound gratitude for the amazing fan support we have had this year. The turnout for Regionals and State was nothing short of amazing. We had more fans in attendance than either Front Range Baptist or Longmont Christian, who were just a short distance away. Let’s do it again next year!”
Lake City Community School took third place for 1A schools in the State Knowledge Bowl Championship held March 13 and 14 on the Colorado State University campus in Fort Collins.
During the two-day, nine-round meet,
LCCS students competed among 60 other teams from all over the state of Colorado, anywhere from the 1A to 5A ranking, answering a broad array of
questions in categories ranging from social studies to literature, geography, math, grammar and science.
“The questions encompass the entire spectrum of the curriculum,” says School Superintendant Leslie Nichols. “The competition was super exciting, actually.”
According to Nichols, LCCS held onto second place for most of the meet until Ouray R-1 had a “phenomenal surge” on day two. ‘It was pretty much neck and neck between us, Ouray and Stargate Academy out of Thorton,” Nichols said.
Stargate Academy is a selective-admissions charter school for gifted and talented students, and Ouray won the state championship in 2016 and were “not going to give up the title easily,” says Nichols. “But even amongst this incredibly fierce competition, our kids really held their own. I could not be more proud of them.”
Ouray went on to defend their title by defeating Stargate for the 2017 State Championship.
This year’s High School participants were team captain Molly Stuntz, who competed the first day and had to sit out the second due to illness, Kayla Chambers, Peter Sperl, Joseph Sperl, Johnny Nichols and Ian Scroggins.
“We eagerly anticipate next year’s competitons,” Nichols says. “Our school may be small, but we showed that we have the ability to compete against some of the best young minds in the state, and that is really exciting.”