Raiders return to Coliseum

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Feature Photo by Vincent Tran: Senior Devon Harris shouts after the final seconds of the Raiders sweet sixteen win. The Raiders Knocked off the Wildcats 57-56 to advance to the Great Eight.

By Sebastian Wiegand, Sports Editor

For the second time in three seasons the Rangeview Boys’ Basketball team has earned its ticket to the Great Eight. The cost of the ticket was 32 intense minutes and two mind-boggling seconds.

EJ Reed has piled up over 50 steals this season; however, one steal from last night will stick with him forever. With 2.1 seconds remaining in the game he rose up and intercepted a full court pass by Arvada West to seal the Raiders 57-56 sweet sixteen win over the Arvada West Wildcats. With the win the Raiders will advance to the Great Eight and will play on Saturday at the Denver Coliseum against the Cherokee Trail Cougars.

The Cougars will come to the Coliseum with a 19-6 record and are fresh off of a 56-52 win over the Legend Titans. The Cougars were led by 21 points and six rebounds from 6’4 senior David Thornton.

The Raiders will have their hands full keeping Thornton out of the paint as he averages 19.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. They will also have to shut down junior guard Jaizec Lottie. Lottie is one of the premier guards in the state of Colorado as he averages 16.3 points and 5.8 assists per game.

The Raiders and Cougars faced off once already this season playing in a non-league match-up in early January. The Raiders held off CT at the end to win the game 59-55 and improve to 9-0, while CT fell to 7-3. The Raiders were led by 19 points and seven rebounds from EJ Reed; while the Cougars were paced by 19 points and 11 rebounds by Thornton.

“We just have to play well defensively and keep them out of the lane,” said Junior Matthew Johnson.

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Junior Elijah Blake holds the ball outside of the 3-point line. Blake had four points in the Raiders win. (Vincent Tran).

Since the matchup the Cougars have caught fire and are 12-3 since finishing the regular season with a record of 17-6 which was good enough to get them a two seed in the Playoffs.

The Raiders meanwhile, have gone 16-0 since the meeting and are currently 25-0 and advanced to the Great Eight following a back and forth win over Arvada West.

The Raiders instantly jumped on the Wildcats, with Reed scoring seven points in the first three minutes of the game and nine total points in the first quarter. Despite Reed’s energetic start the Raiders were whistled for three fouls in the first minute of the game. The Raiders led the Wildcats 17-11 at the end of the first quarter.

However the Wildcats would come back as the Raiders had to double-team 7’0” Dallas Walton which opened up lanes, for Will Wittman and three-pointers for Luke Neff. Rangeview struggled to find a way around Walton on offense as well and were outscored 16-9 in the quarter and headed to the locker room trailing 27-26.

The third quarter was owned by Tyrei Randall as he put up 11 points and helped the Raiders to build another six point lead as they were on top 45-39 at the end of the third quarter.

However the Rangeview couldn’t kick the Wildcats while they were down as they roared back into the game. The Raiders maintained a small lead until there were just 30 seconds remaining. With the game tied at 56 Elijah Blake took the ball up and attempted to burn the clock. With around ten seconds remaining he drove in and took an elbow jumper that missed. Senior Kris Hollins pulled in the offensive rebound with 2.9 seconds remaining, and was fouled on the way down giving him two free throws.

Hollins hit his first free throw putting the Raiders up 57-56, however he couldn’t hit his second one and the Wildcats rebounded it and called a timeout with just 2.1 seconds remaining. Arvada West then threw a full court lob that sailed just too high and into the hands of Rangeview senior Elijah Reed. Reed then threw the ball into the air as time expired and Raider fans poured onto the court.

“It was a great written up play from Coach Palmer and great defensive execution by the team,” Reed said

This is the second time in the past three seasons that the Raiders have made it to the Great Eight. They will play Cherokee Trail at 2:30 on Saturday. Cost of Admission will be $ 9.00.