Patience pays dividends for Central boys
The Central High School boys basketball team took its lumps for a couple of years and are now reaping the benefits.
Undersized and young, the current Warrior seniors who played varsity as sophomores and/or juniors amassed a two-year record of 18-24 from 2006-2008.
They didn’t qualify for the Class 5A state playoffs in either year, despite an 11-11 regular season in 2007-08.
Then things started to come together. A couple of players hit a growth spurt and added some bulk in the offseason.
Lo and behold, Central compiled a 19-4 record this season, good for second place in the Southwestern League.
That garnered Central the No. 5 seed in the RW Truscott Region as the Warriors embark on the Class 5A state playoffs at 6 tonight at home against Northglenn.
As a top-eight seed in the region, Central earned the right to host a first-round game. It didn’t come by accident.
It came through perseverance the commitment the older players were making to the program.
“When we came in as freshmen, what we saw that we were missing was that work ethic,” said Griffin Woolsey, one of nine seniors on this year’s team.
They knew that if the expected growth spurts materialized, the rest was up to them.
“Talent alone won’t do it for you,” Woolsey said. “You’ve got to put in the effort.”
That effort produced a top-20 seed in the 48-team 5A boys bracket.
“It’s really a reward for that hard work,” Woolsey said. “You can tell the passion.”
The Warriors began the season 9-0, then went 2-3 in their next five games — including nonleague losses on the road to George Washington and Chatfield.
“We lost our focus, we were lackadaisical, we were content,” Woolsey said.
Once they got back from their first league road trip to the Four Corners, “We got that focus back,” he said.
Central went on a seven-game winning streak before losing to Grand Junction last week.
What they learned from their four losses was how to focus on what they did best.
“We realized what got us here was defense,” Woolsey said.
Since the season is on the line with every game from here on out, “We have to come into each game with that focus,” he said.
Northglenn (12-11) finished in ninth place in the Front Range League completed the regular season on a three-game losing streak.
Raphael McCreary leads the Norse with a 13.4 points-per-game average. Devon Acker (11.0) and Scott Cowan (10.3) also average in double figures in a balanced scoring column that has six players averaging at least 71/2 points a game.
Central is also balanced, Kahler Grandbouche and Michael Wiedrich averaging 11.5 points a game.
Game time tonight is 6 p.m., with the winner playing Arapahoe in Littleton on Saturday at 3 p.m..