February 4, 2013 Updated: July 3, 2013 at 9:26 am
The Sand Creek boys’ basketball team is writing quite a story so far in the 2012-13 season. The Scorpions have faced and defeated 16 opponents – all but two of the wins coming by double digits.
While the team boasts both impressive balance and depth, the catalyst for one of the top 4A teams in the state is Josh Smith.
The senior, do-it-all playmaker is listed as any of three positions, and for good reason. He can play shooting guard, small forward or power forward, as well as defend almost anyone on the other side.
“Josh is an amazing player, but we are just beginning to see how great of an all-around player he really can be,” said Sand Creek coach Joe Rausch. “In the past years we’ve needed him to be the guy who shot the ball a lot, but now that we have some balance Josh has shown he can be a passer, rebounder and defender, as well.”
Smith and his Scorpions may have been the best-kept secret in 4A basketball outside of Colorado Springs – until Saturday. On Feb. 2, Sand Creek pounded Valor Christian 76-61 to open some eyes throughout the state.
“It was a very satisfying game, and it felt good to be able to put in so many shots,” said Smith, who scored a season-high 32 points against a team regarded as one of the best in the state from those up north. “Our mentality is to always bring it on defense, and now we’re looking forward to the next game.”
The “next game” is a big one. The Scorpions will host defending 4A state champion Lewis-Palmer on Tuesday night with first place in the 4A Pikes Peak Conference on the line.
But first place isn’t all that’s on the line; Sand Creek is still trying to prove it is an elite program, and a win over the Rangers would go a long way.
“We feel like we continually have to prove something, which is fine because we like the challenge,” Rausch said of his team feeling underappreciated. “We’re still learning to play at our highest level every game.”
When the Scorpions are performing at that highest level is when Smith, who averages over 16 points per game, can play freely within the offense and both score and create.
“Of course I like to score a lot, but it feels just as good to be able to get my teammates involved and that is what has made us a stronger team this year,” said Smith, who can’t wait to face off with Jordan Scott and L-P. “We feel like we don’t get the respect we should throughout the state, but we are going to earn it.”