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Rampart Holiday notebook: Rampart, CSCS boys battle beyond the arc; Lady Lions get help off the bench

January 6, 2018 Updated: January 6, 2018 at 7:41 am
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photo - Rampart's Josh Kavalec (1) dribbles around a defender.
Rampart's Josh Kavalec (1) dribbles around a defender. 

Rampart boys’ basketball is not typically a good outside-shooting team, averaging less than three 3-pointers per game.

But Friday against CSCS, Rampart had to take a different approach.

The Rams’ shot lights-out beyond the arc in a 76-68 win over CSCS, but the Lions also found luck on the outside as they used the 3-point line to forge an impressive comeback in the fourth quarter.

A total of 23 3-pointers were made in Thursday’s game. CSCS had 14, while Rampart had nine.

“We are not a really good outside scoring team, so (CSCS’) philosophy was let them shoot threes, and our guys did, and we made the shots today,” Rampart coach J’on St. Clair said. “And that’s what you have to do when they’re daring us to shoot like that.”

Rampart shot 56 percent from beyond the arc and 61 percent in 2-point range.

“It’s the best we’ve ever shot from the 3-point line, and and if we are shooting that well we are really going to be tough to beat,” St. Clair said.

Rampart's Jack McReynolds (10) guards Colorado Springs Christian's Kolby Walker during the Rampart Holiday Classic on Friday, January 5, 2018 at the Boardmoor World Arena. The Rams defeated CSCS 76-68.
Rampart's Jack McReynolds (10) guards Colorado Springs Christian's Kolby Walker during the Rampart Holiday Classic on Friday, January 5, 2018 at the Boardmoor World Arena. The Rams defeated CSCS 76-68. 

The Lions are solid on the outside, averaging more than nine 3-pointers per game, and sank five treys in the fourth quarter on the way to outscoring Rampart 25-13 in the final frame.

Noah Hopkins, who had five 3’s for the Lions on Thursday in the tournament opener, shot three of CSCS’ five treys in the fourth as the team battled to eliminate a lengthy deficit. He finished with six 3-pointers and led the team in scoring with 21 points.

Josh Kavalec sank three in a row for the Rams early in the third, while Jack McReynolds finished with four treys off the bench.

Kavalec led Rampart in scoring with 21 points, followed by Dawson Carper with 19, Xavier Johnson with 17 and McReynolds with 14.

CSCS girls’ support off the bench leads to bounce-back win after first loss of the season

Colorado Springs Christian girls coach Mark Engesser wasn’t sure what team he saw lose to Pueblo West in the opening round of the Rampart Holiday Classic, but it wasn’t his previously unbeaten Lions.

But Friday CSCS bounced back into its winning ways with a 48-30 win over Rampart thanks to a big spark off the bench.

Colorado Springs Christian's Katie Hildenbrand is guarded by two Rampart defenders.
Colorado Springs Christian's Katie Hildenbrand is guarded by two Rampart defenders. 

“They’ve been playing well this year except the Pueblo West game,” Engesser said. “I know Pueblo West had something to do with that I’m sure, but (against Rampart), that was the team I’ve seen this year.”

Seniors Katie Hildenbrand and Grace Heisler, and junior Abby Knelder are Engesser’s not-so-secret weapons off the bench, adding depth to the talented 6-1 CSCS squad.

Knelder was the Lions’ top threat on the outside against Rampart, shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc for nine points in the first half. Her efforts allowed CSCS to take a 29-16 lead into the locker room.

“She does her job really well,” Engesser said. “She actually played a little as a freshman and then last year she hurt her knee and I kind of never got her back into the rotation, so she has some experience and she showed it this summer and she’s showing it now.”

Colorado Springs Christian's Abby Knelder dribbles around a defender.
Colorado Springs Christian's Abby Knelder dribbles around a defender. 

Hildenbrand, a 5-foot-9 senior, is the team’s defensive specialist. She’s a ferocious defender and solid on the boards as she typically takes on opposing team’s top scorer.

Engesser said, “Katie and Grace come off the bench as seniors and have great attitude about it, I’m very pleased with those two girls."

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