Top-seeded Chaparral missed a lot of shots and a chance to win the state championship. The Wolverines made just 33.3 percent of their field goal attempts and were defeated, 61-47, by Rangeview on …
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Top-seeded Chaparral missed a lot of shots and a chance to win the state championship.
The Wolverines made just 33.3 percent of their field goal attempts and were defeated, 61-47, by Rangeview on March 9 in the Class 5A boys state championship basketball game at the Denver Coliseum.
The setback came after a 58-46 comeback victory over ThunderRidge in a March 8 semifinal game.
“That comeback in the semifinals maybe took a little something out of us,” said Wolverines coach Tellus Truesdale. “We just didn't hit shots against Rangeview and finish. It's a make-or-miss game. We had more misses than makes. They hit free throws down the stretch. That happens.”
Rangeview led by as many as 14 points and Chaparral could never get close in the second half. The Raiders outscored the Wolverines, 24-10, from the free throw line and had 25 points off the bench compared to five by Chaparral.
“I'm proud of our guys,” Truesdale said after the game as he stood next to his 11-day old son Tellus Drake and his wife Sarah. “They fought and it's hard when you are down like that and the other team is hitting free throws. You've got to get some bounces to go your way and they (the Raiders) did a great job of finishing off.”
Chaparral ended the season with a 22-5 record.
“It's disappointing because our guys deserved more,” added Truesdale. “After losing Ronnie (DeGray) a lot of guys wrote us off. Even to get here is a victory.
“I told the guys in the locker room that you might not agree but ultimately 20 years from now you are going to find out if we are successful or not. One game doesn't define us. I'm proud of them, proud of their character and I know we had some amazing guys in the locker room.”
All-State forward DeGray transferred to Woodstock Academy in Woodstock, Connecticut, but all season he kept sending tweets of encouragement to his former teammates.
Junior guard Kobe Sanders led the Wolverines in scoring in the title game with 21 points and senior Tanner Giles finished with 11 points.
In the semifinal victory over ThunderRidge on March 8, it took a halftime talk by Giles to ignite a spirited defensive effort, which sparked a rally as the Wolverines notched their third win of the season over the Grizzlies.
Giles asked the coaches to leave the dressing room so he could talk to his teammates.
ThunderRidge had a 10-point lead at 35-25 with 3:19 to play in the third quarter when Chaparral's second-half defensive intensity finally paid dividends.
Chaparral, which shot just 27.6 percent from the floor in the first half, outscored the Grizzlies 20-0 over the next six minutes to take a 45-35 lead with 5:42 left in the game.
ThunderRidge turned the ball over nine times during the Wolverines' run and committed 30 turnovers in the game.
“At halftime, our heads were down and I just had to talk to the team to help them out,” said Giles. “After halftime we just came out with a different mentality. The main focus was defense. We had like maybe six steals in a row and that gave us the energy to come back and win."
Giles took game scoring honors against ThunderRidge with 21 points and Sanders, the team's leading scorer for the season with a 16.3 average, chipped in 11 points.
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