Three-time defending champs too much for Plateau Valley

LOVELAND — Just more than five minutes into its Class 1A boys basketball state tournament matchup with three-time defending champion Caliche, Plateau Valley stood in good position.

That footing, however, quickly deteriorated, and the Cowboys’ first trip to the Great Eight since 1990 ended in an 84-38 loss Thursday night at the Budweiser Events Center.

“There’s definitely a reason they’re the three-time defending state champions,” Plateau Valley coach John Holmes said. “The defensive pressure was nothing we’ve seen, and we clearly weren’t ready for it. That was fantastic defense.”

The Cowboys (17-5) will attempt to rebound at 1:15 p.m. today against Stratton in the consolation bracket. Caliche (20-4) faces Walsh in the semis at 8:30 p.m.

The Buffaloes’ defense started from the opening tip and goes from one end of the court to the other. Pressing, trapping, diving, stealing and blocking, the Buffaloes charged out to a 10-0 lead 2:38 into the game.

Then came the Cowboys’ high-water mark of the night.

Fernando Enriquez got the Cowboys rolling with a put-back, then Teddy Grundy nailed a jumper and Enriquez again scored. Three possessions later, Brett Hawkins’ 3-pointer had the Cowboys’ faithful hooting and hollering about the 11-10 lead with 2:56 to go in the quarter.

The first quarter ended with the Cowboys down 21-15 and hanging in.

Unfortunately, the scoreboard wasn’t a pretty sight from there. Caliche scored the first 15 points of the second quarter and finished with 15 of the next 19 points. Caliche’s 30-point second quarter left Plateau Valley trailing 51-19 at halftime.

“Nothing we’ve seen in our league compares to what they do defensively,” Holmes said.

Grundy led the Cowboys with 20 points.

Sierra Grande 75, Norwood 64: Nick Rushing’s 31 points weren’t enough for the Mavericks, who were outscored 20-13 in the third quarter after going into halftime tied 36-36.

Rushing hit four 3-pointers and Morgan Rummel added 17 points for Norwood, which plays Springfield at 10:15 this morning in a consolation game.

Girls

Norwood 28, Kim 24: The Mavericks scored only four points in the first quarter, but shut out Kim on the way to a 13-6 halftime lead in the defensive battle.

Kim rallied in the third quarter to cut it to 17-15 but Norwood hung on to advance to the semis against Merino at 4 p.m. today.

Harlie Williams scored 14 points to lead Norwood.


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