Central falls just short at Warrior Challenge

The Central High School boys basketball team couldn’t quite get over the top.

Every time the Warriors got close, the Legacy Lightning would bolt out to a comfortable lead. The Broomfield school finally put Central away with a 51-45 victory Thursday night at the Warrior Challenge.

After falling behind 23-15 early in the third quarter, the Warriors clawed their way back into the game with some spirited play.

Trey Fair swished a 3-pointer, then scored on a drive. After a steal by Fair, Kyle Blair followed a miss with a basket and when Tyler Talkington scored on a putback, the Warriors had their only lead of the game, 27-25.

Legacy didn’t panic, going on a 7-0 run to regain the lead, 32-27.

Fair, who had a game-high 15 points, nailed another 3 to snap the run but Legacy scored the final four points of the quarter to hold a 36-30 lead.

That’s the way the rest of the game went. Central would get close, only to see Legacy inch away.

Fair hit a layup on an assist from Blair to start the fourth to cut the lead to four.

Then Legacy’s running game spurted again with Dalton Royer and Jeffrey Salazar hitting buckets.

Central made another push when Nicholas Fino and Jeremy Champlin each made two free throws to cut the Legacy lead to 45-39. Talkington nailed a 3 from the corner to make the score 49-44 with 14 seconds left, then freshman Hunter Kelchner made a free throw, but the Lightning sealed the win with free throws down the stretch.

Nico Ball led the Lightning with 10 points, and Andrew Hebel and Royer had nine each.

Talkington scored 14 for the Warriors and Blair added eight.

Grand Junction 64, Lewis-Palmer 38: Four Grand Junction players scored in double figures to lead the Tigers past Lewis Palmer.

Broderick Robinson led the way with a stellar all-around game — finishing with 18 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

The senior’s slick game was in full display near the end of the first quarter. Dribbling patiently near the top of the key as the final seconds ticked down, Robinson made a quick move, then rifled a right-handed laser pass through the lane to Stockton Rock, who was slicing across the baseline. He banked in the basket to give the Tigers a 20-6 lead.

Then Robinson did it again, this time zipping a pass to a cutting D.J. Wells who rattled the rim with a dunk to open the second quarter.

Like the first, the second quarter belonged to the Tigers. Wells put in an offensive rebound, then Rock sliced in for a bucket, followed by a long 3-pointer by Robinson.

When Ben Volkmann hit a 3-pointer, the Tigers had a 40-22 lead.

As to be expected with a season-opener, the Tigers were smooth at times and sputtered at other times.

Head coach Dutch Johnson said early season games are about working to get better.

“We’re still trying to build a foundation to look at things to help us get better,” he said.

He said the Tigers worked with a seven-player rotation and everyone contributed.

Wells scored 16 for the Tigers with Volkmann and Rock adding 11 points each. Sam Strasburger led Lewis-Palmer with 12 points.

Fruita Monument 59, Delta 52: After surrendering 14 offensive rebounds during the first quarter against Delta during the opening game, the chances of Fruita Monument winning seemed grim.

The Panthers’ Cade Gafford was throwing full-court passes to Ryan Whiteside and Jonny Ponce like it was football season and the Wildcats seemed outmatched.

But Fruita managed to seize control in the fourth quarter, creating turnovers with a frantic full-court press that finally wore down Delta and led to a come-from-behind win.

Despite rebounding woes — the Wildcats surrendered 25 offensive rebounds in total — quick hands and fast feet carried an undersized Fruita team down the stretch.

With the Wildcats trailing 39-32 at the end of the third quarter, Fruita’s guards finally cracked Delta’s 2-3 zone to create space on the floor.

Coupled with an aggressive press that tallied more than a dozen turnovers in the fourth quarter, and the Wildcats went on two big runs to eventually seal the win with 6-of-10 free-throw shooting.

“The whole game we were right there, we just couldn’t make any shots,” coach Billy Dreher said. “Our tempo was awesome, we just couldn’t buy a bucket. But we found a group of guys — we don’t really have a true starting five — we found a group of guys that worked. We’re always searching for whatever works and we finally found a formula that worked in the fourth quarter.”


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