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The Pirates hardly broke a sweat in front of their hometown fans last week as the boys breezed through the first two games of the state championship bracket, securing a spot in one of today’s Great 8 games held at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
“We played well against both Florence and University,” Coach Randy Sorenson said. “They were our best games of the year.”
The final score for Friday night’s Round 1 game against the No. 26-ranked Florence Huskies was 67-36. In that game, Kain Lucero scored 24 points and Zachariah Griego had 18.
“We did a lot of good things offensively and our defense was solid,” Sorenson explained. “We are playing our best basketball at the right time.”
Sorenson apologized for not turning in the complete stats for either game, but admitted, “It takes a lot of preparation to get ready for state, so I’ve been busy.”
The score for Saturday afternoon’s Sweet 16 game against the No. 10-ranked University Bulldogs from Greeley was at least broken down by quarter, so fans can know the Pirates dominated all four quarters: 21-9, 11-8, 10-8 and 10-6, for a final score of 52-31.
“Our scoring was very balanced against University,” Sorenson said, “which is great.” Griego led the scoring in that game with 17 points, while Lucero got credit for 11 assists.
“We are thankful and excited to be moving on to the state tournament in Fort Collins,” Sorenson said in an e-mail from his cell phone Wednesday morning while the team’s bus received a full police and fire escort out of town.
“This group of kids deserves it,” Sorenson concluded. “They have done everything that we have asked and they have done it with class. We feel that these kids are not done yet; they have higher goals than just getting to state. It will be a dog fight, but we feel like we have a chance.”
The Pirates entered the tournament with a seventh-place ranking, according to the MaxPreps website. The No. 1-ranked Kent Denver Sun Devils are still in the tournament, having defeated Aurora West College Prep Academy and Aspen last week, and will face Sterling today at 4 p.m.
If the Pirates defeat the Colorado Academy Mustangs today at 8:45 a.m. they will move on to face the winner of the Eaton/Holy Family game. If Kent defeats Sterling, the Sun Devils will move on to face the winner of the Brush/Faith Christian game.
Should the Pirates and Sun Devils advance to meet each other, they are not strangers, having battled in post-season on several occasions in the past.
Both of the Final 4 games will be played tomorrow, and the state championship game will be played at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.