Hair’s to a special season

Column by Jim Benton
Posted 2/11/20

Two more wins and Englewood coach John Nonemacher will have his head shaved. It's an agreement that Nonemacher made with his Englewood boys basketball team and it appears that he might have to let …

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Hair’s to a special season


Two more wins and Englewood coach John Nonemacher will have his head shaved.

It's an agreement that Nonemacher made with his Englewood boys basketball team and it appears that he might have to let his players shave his head.

Some of us are losing hair without having it shaved off, but at least Nonemacher will be able to regrow hair.

“We have a bet with the team if we get to 13 wins, they can shave my head,” explained Nonemacher. “I thought at the beginning of the year we could get to 13. We don't have too much further to go on that one. These guys are tough. These guys have a winning mentality.”

Englewood defeated Alameda 88-64 to raise this season's record to 11-2 on Feb. 4 and as of press time, had a game scheduled against Arvada on Feb. 7. Barring a schedule change due to weather, the Pirates' regular season finale was set for Feb. 13 against Fort Morgan.

The 3A/4A Colorado 8 League tournament starts on Feb. 18.

“After the season, I will take some time to enjoy the wins but right now it's just how can we maximize what we do right now,” said Nonemacher. “We're hungry and we want to stay hungry. We can get that number.

“We can score. We like to play fast and we like to have fun. We give up too many points but that is a lot like we want to play. We want to score about 70 each game and see what happens after that.”

The 11 wins ties with the 2010-11 and the 2007-08 teams for the most wins in a season since the 2000-01 squad won 16 games.

Junior Nate Gravagno, the team's leading scorer with an average of 17 points per game, had his sights set on more wins than last season, but because of Nonemacher's challenge he has raised his expectations.

“At the beginning of the year my goal was just to get 12 wins,” said Gravagno “Last year we went 9-12 so we did kind of OK, so I just said let's improve our record this year. Now we are a good team and we could do some great things this year.”

Sophomore Hunter Johnson, who is averaging 12.7 points for the team which has only one senior, got a sense early that the Pirates would be good.

“The first couple games I saw our heart,” said Johnson, whose twin brother Gunner plays on the team. “I saw the guys in practice that they wanted to push. I saw that and knew there could be a big season ahead for us.

“I love the style we play because we are always up and down the court and making the other team want to quit first and taking their oxygen.”

Yantis comes to Valor

Donnie Yantis, a former tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Arizona State and an ex-head coach at NAIA Arizona Christian, is the new head football coach at Valor Christian.

Honor roll

Each week performances of South Metro athletes and teams will be highlighted. This week's performances were selected from games, matches and meets held between Jan. 31 and Feb. 6.

Sophomores Taylor Ray and Alex Pirog each had 17 points to lead the Highlands Ranch girls basketball team to a 66-40 victory over ThunderRidge on Feb. 5.

John Connolly had a three-goal hat trick as the Chaparral hockey team downed Cherry Creek 6-4 on Feb. 1.

Jacob Strawn's power play goal late in the third period was the game winner as the Mountain Vista hockey team trimmed Ralston Valley 4-3 on Feb. 5.

The Cherry Creek girls basketball team, led by Abby Wrede who scored 21 points and Jana Van Gytenbeek who had 20, shot 60 percent from the field in a 92-28 romp over Overland on Feb. 5. Van Gytenbeek had eight assists against Overland and set a state career record with 595 so far in her career. She is a senior and has signed to play at Stanford.

Amondo Miller's 21 points paced the Valor Christian boys basketball team to an 81-69 triumph over Pomona on Feb. 5.

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.


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