Published: February 26, 2014
Perhaps the loudest roar from the stands came in the final minute of Air Academy's 88-38 demolition of Coronado, when senior reserve Trent Reinicke swished a 3-pointer to become the 11th Kadet out of 12 who saw action to hit the scorebook.
Just about everyone got into the act in Wednesday's 4A first-round home playoff game, their first in more than 15 years. David Louthan and Bobby Davis scored 16 points apiece to lead four Kadets in double figures, as No. 5 Air Academy (18-6) took control early and never looked back against the No. 12 Cougars.
"I'm glad we got to host a playoff game because we all knew it had been a while," Kadets junior guard Adam Brown said. "A lot of people showed up, and it was exciting. We've been working on playing more as a team, not as individuals, and we started off working and being patient. It paid off."
John Sims added 13 points, while Stephen Heard had 12 for the fifth-seeded Kadets, who next will meet No. 4 Durango (15-6) at 4 p.m. Friday in Highlands Ranch, where No. 2 Valor Christian is playing host.
Coronado (9-15) had few answers for Air Academy's full-court press and ball-hawking defense, complemented by its precision offense that found open shooters from close range on many possessions. The Kadets rolled up 21 assists.
"We've seen more impressive individuals, but as far as a team, that's one of the best teams we've played and will be a tough out for anyone they play in the playoffs," Coronado coach Myles Johnson said. "I was incredibly impressed. They're disciplined, unselfish and all five do their job."
Air Academy, already ahead 40-23 at halftime, shot 65.6 percent from the field in the second half as the Cougars began to fade. Seven Kadets scored on a 10-for-12 third quarter that upped the Air Academy lead to 60-33.
The Kadets still weren't done.
Coach Barry Clark took out the rest of his starters with 4:02 left in the fourth quarter, giving quality time to several reserves. And they didn't miss a beat as Air Academy put up 28 points in the fourth quarter.
"If you let up on any team in the playoffs, you're out," Clark said. "We just have a mentality that if you're on the floor, you're going to play your hardest."
That included junior reserve guard Paul Ambuul, who hit consecutive jumpers that ended a 22-0 run for a 64-33 Kadets advantage with 4:25 remaining.
"I've been waiting for my chance," Ambuul said. "Whenever I get my chance, I want to contribute. When everyone can score, it makes us really dangerous moving forward. No one can focus on any one person."
Antwan Outlaw led Coronado with nine points, including two 3-pointers in the first quarter. His first long-range shot gave the Cougars their only lead at 3-2, later tying the game at 9 with a 21-footer from the top of the key.
Louthan helped put the Kadets in control, starting a 16-1 run that spilled into the second quarter with a jumper from the free-throw line. Later, Davis added a 3-pointer, added two free throws and converted a three-point play on a drive down the lane plus a foul shot.