Last year, a challenging non-league schedule toughened up Sand Creek and helped set the tone for a second half that launched the Scorpions deep into the 4A playoffs.
After Tuesday’s 75-46 home loss to Pueblo South, Sand Creek can only hope history will repeat itself.
Mikala Gordon led three double-digit scorers with 18 points, and Pueblo South dominated from the opening tip, much like it did last Dec. 9 in a 90-44 mauling of the Scorpions in Pueblo.
“We only go up from here, because we’re at rock bottom,” Scorpions senior Bri Pratt said. “That’s the only place to go. We knew what to expect, but we didn’t come out as hard as we should of. We are a better team than that.”
Shannon Patterson and Kendra Jesik scored 17 points apiece, and the Colts (3-1) sizzled early, shooting nearly 53 percent from the field in the first half while also forcing 13 turnovers in taking a commanding 48-22 lead at halftime.
Gordon triggered a 9-0 run late in the first quarter with a three-point play and consecutive baskets that turned a three-point lead into a 20-8 cushion. The Scorpions (1-1) didn’t threaten the rest of the way.
“This was a great test, and we have a little bit to work on,” Sand Creek coach Jamie Carey said. “We got to see where we’re at and see the things we need to work on at both ends of the floor. I give Pueblo South a lot of credit. They’re a really good team.”
Last year’s early-season schedule for Sand Creek featured not only Pueblo South, but another 4A semifinalist in Pueblo West, along with Doherty and Poudre, both of which reached the 5A playoffs. Sand Creek lost to those four opponents but ultimately won 12 of 14 league games.
Pueblo South won its first 26 games last season in punching a ticket to the 4A semifinals but fell to D’Evelyn. On Saturday, it let a second-half lead against Palmer slip away.
Not on Tuesday.
“We watched film of the Palmer game for hours and wanted to turn that around and get back on track,” Gordon said. “We came out focused and determined to turn that around."
Freshman Oliana Squires led Sand Creek with 13 points, including three 3-pointers. Liah Davis came off the bench to score 11. The Scorpions made just 16 shots from the field, or three fewer than the Colts had in the first half.
The Colts led by as many as 34 in the fourth quarter.
“I’m glad it’s December and not February,” Carey said. “The season is definitely a marathon and not a sprint, and we have a long way to go. I’m just concerned with what we’re doing on the defensive end and how to get back into some kind of rhythm. But they didn’t roll over and die in the second half, so I was proud of them for that.”