GOLDEN – When the ball arrived in Wesley Gordon’s hands with 8 seconds left in Sierra’s needlessly dramatic battle with D’Evelyn, Josh Scott was standing only a few feet away.
Gordon was trying to save his Stallions. Scott was watching as he waited along with his Lewis-Palmer teammates to play Pueblo Central in the 4A quarterfinals.
Scott was sure of one thing the instant Gordon caught the ball:
D’Evelyn was doomed.
“The moment Wes caught it, I said, ‘Oh, that’s going in.’ You can’t cover Wes with one man.”
Gordon dropped a left-handed bank shot, breaking a tie and enabling Sierra to beat D’Evelyn, 65-63. Later, Scott and his Lewis-Palmer teammates devoured Pueblo Central 72-48.
It was a strange night as an endless array of little people tried, and ultimately failed, to stop Gordon and Scott.
D’Evelyn coach Troy Pachner came achingly close to success by utilizing a physical, at times borderline criminal, defensive scheme on Gordon. D’Evelyn’s starting five is quick, generous and blessed with high school superstar named Luke Stratman.
But D’Evelyn lacks one important ingredient. The Jaguars are short. None of the starters stands taller than 6-foot-1.
So Pachner sent waves of defenders at Gordon, who stands 6-foot-7 1/2 and has signed to play next season at the University of Colorado. D’Evelyn almost always double-teamed Gordon and at times all five of the Jaguars swarmed Sierra’s big man. They pushed. They shoved. They elbowed.
“Yeah,” Gordon said, laughing, “they hit my body a lot. Sometimes I just wanted to scream out to the refs.”
Strange thing, though; Gordon found himself virtually alone in the game’s most critical sequence. With the score tied at 63, Sierra went to Gordon in the lane, and for once he had only one player between him and the basket.
D’Evelyn’s Caleb Flack was covering Gordon, and Flack, who stands 6-foot-1, had not a chance.
When Gordon’s shot dropped, the best current plot line in Colorado high school sports remained alive. The proper way to end the 4A basketball season is for Gordon and Scott to meet in the state title game.
And Gordon and Scott want one final tangle before they join forces at CU. Lewis-Palmer defeated Sierra in a thriller last month, and Sierra dropped Lewis-Palmer in a thriller last season.
“Yeah,” Gordon said, “I’m hoping for a rematch. He got me this year. I got him last year. It’s our last game.”
“I want to play them,” Scott said of the Stallions.
Scott, who stands 6-foot-9 1/2, and his Rangers look ready for a ride to the finals. When Scott departed Friday’s game, he had scored 29 points. At that point, the entire Pueblo Central team had only managed 35. Lewis-Palmer was relentlessly aggressive.
Meanwhile, Sierra often looked confused and kicked away chances to dismiss D’Evelyn. The Stallions kept letting D’Evelyn back in the game, and nearly paid for their generosity with a loss.
Scott was standing in the doorway only a few feet from the action when Gordon finally dismissed D’Evelyn. Gordon roared to the rim, and all was right in Colorado high school basketball.
Scott was happy to see his friend and nemesis remain alive in the tournament. He wants to see what all of us want to see:
The ultimate high school rematch.