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Gazette Premium Content Boys' basketball: Sand Creek hold off late Air Academy charge

19 photos photo - Sand Creek's Nick Pasley shoots over the defense of Air Academy's John Sims during the first quarter Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at Sand Creek High School in Colorado Springs. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock) + caption
Sand Creek's Nick Pasley shoots over the defense of Air Academy's John Sims during the first quarter Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at Sand Creek High School in Colorado Springs. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
By Kevin Carmody Updated: January 17, 2014 at 11:13 pm

Sand Creek didn't need a last-second shot or overtime in this one.

Still, there was no lack of late drama, as the Scorpions held off an Air Academy comeback attempt in a 60-51 victory on Friday, the Scorpions' 21st straight home win dating back to the 2011-12 season.

Dylan Clark scored a team-high 21 points, including a 10-of-10 effort from the free-throw line, and Langston Bell added seven of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, as Sand Creek (10-1, 4-0 4A Pikes Peak Athletic Conference) beat Air Academy (10-3, 3-1) for the 11th consecutive time.

"It's kind of the nature of this team," Scorpions coach Joe Rausch said. "In this league, any win is a good one. One of the things I'm most proud of is that they don't panic at the end in the fourth quarter. We're used to being in close games."

Sand Creek, which has won six games by single digits, including all four in league play, seemed poised to break the norm after Clark's 3-pointer from the top of the key gave the Scorpions a 38-25 lead with 5:34 left in the third.

But Kadets senior Bobby Davis found his stroke, scoring 15 of his team-high 21 points in the second half. His 3-pointer from the right side drew Air Academy to within 49-46 with 2:33 left, but that's the closest the Kadets got, as Sand Creek hit nine of 10 free throws in the final 1:42.

"We had to keep pushing, but we couldn't get over the hump," Davis said. "It kept going back and forth at the end. When we got down, we tried to push the ball as fast as we could and get them tired, but they hit their shots. We'll have to play better defense the next time we play them."

David Fertig and Stephen Heard added 10 points each for Air Academy, which had its three-game winning streak stopped.

"We played enough defense to get back in the game, but we didn't finish enough shots," Air Academy coach Barry Clark said. "The effort was there, and we scrapped hard on defense, but the ball didn't fall."

Sand Creek made seven 3-pointers in the first half against Air Academy's zone defense to rally from an early five-point deficit and take a 30-20 lead after two quarters.

Clark, who took only one shot in the first quarter, briefly left the game early in the second quarter when he collided with John Sims while heading up court after corralling a loose ball.

Then, the senior got going, scoring 10 points in the final 2:45 of the half.

"I just remember getting the loose ball, and trying to take it up the court," Clark said. "It was inadvertent contact, and I got it in the ear. I got with the trainer and did a few exercises to get the ear to pop. After that, I was good."

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