A big win over Hotchkiss (69-63) in Friday's first round of the First Colorado National Bank Tournament had Cedaredge High School's boys basketball team anticipating a highly competitive game in the title game on Saturday night.
That title game turned out to be against the tournament host school Delta High School. The Panthers turned back last year's champions Paonia (62-30). The Bruins were unable to match Delta's firepower in every quarter and eventually fell, 71-54, to finish second (see related story).
Getting past Hotchkiss would not be an easy task, taking into consideration the Bulldog's seven-footer Jacob Stucker. Good passing, and some luck, might be a combination that could lead to points in the paint for opposing teams. Stucker's wing span is deceiving as many of Hotchkiss' opponents can attest.
Early in the contest, Stucker would not be as big a problem as anticipated. An outside attack from the perimeter gave the Bruins much more to be concerned with. Hotchkiss' Braxton Trujillo hit four straight three-pointers in the first quarter, and Jonathan Gonzalez hit another in a 20-18 Bulldog run.
Baylee Piper was half as effective with his trio of field goals inside the arc with Jacob Lewis scoring five points and Peter Carlson adding another four to account for 17 of the Bruins' 18 points.
Hotchkiss continued to shoot outside the arc in second-quarter action with Gonzalez and Trujillo nailing two more three-pointers each. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs scored just 14 points in the frame while Cedaredge netted 23 points, led by Carlson's 11 points (including seven of eight free throws). The scoring burst vaulted Cedaredge to a 41-34 halftime lead.
After the break, scoring dropped off for both teams. Cedaredge added to its lead with a 14-12 scoring advantage in the third quarter. Carlson found the net for six more points for the Bruins while Trujillo scored with a three and a two-pointer for Hotchkiss.
The Bulldogs had three players with four or more points in the fourth quarter allowing Hotchkiss to outscore the Bruins 17-16 in the game's final eight minutes.
Jared Reynolds had a pair of treys and a deuce to lead Cedaredge in scoring 16 points in the final stanza.
Trujillo finished the game with seven three-pointers and Gonzalez scored four times from beyond the arc. Sam Rodriguez also scored once from behind the three-point line as the Bulldogs lost 69-63.
Trujillo's 26 points were the most scored by any player in the game. Gonzalez added 14 points in the loss. Carlson's 24 points topped Cedaredge scorers. Reynolds finished with 17 points, Jacob Lewis had 15 and Piper scored 10.