DENVER - Sand Creek coach Joe Rausch looked across his bench before the fourth quarter began Saturday afternoon and reminded his seniors that this would be their final eight minutes of high school basketball unless they could put together one of their best performances of the season.
His players answered, just like they had all season.
Senior guards Dylan Clark and Micheal DeCarmo combined for 31 points in the game, Nick Pasley went 3 for 3 from behind the perimeter and Jason Pasley knocked down seven of his eight free throws in the fourth quarter to lift the second-seeded Scorpions over No. 1 D'Evelyn 58-51 in the 4A boys' quarterfinals at the Denver Coliseum.
In the final eight minutes, Sand Creek outscored the Jaguars 19-4 to lock up its first semifinals berth in school history.
"We didn't do a lot of things right in the first three quarters, and D'Evelyn showed everyone why it deserved a top seed," said Rausch, whose team trailed by as many as 10. "But this team has been resilient all year. We've shown no matter what we get put up against, we can fight back. I couldn't be prouder of the fight these guys show."
It ended at the hands of two brothers. Senior Nick Pasley's 3-pointer gave the Scorpions a 51-49 lead with just over a minute left. And after D'Evelyn cut the lead to one with a pair of free throws, junior brother Jason Pasley hit four consecutive free throws to ice the game.
Jason Pasley said afterward those were the "biggest shots" of his life.
"I've never had it where the game was on the line and I had to make free throws like that," said Jason Pasley, who was called to the free-throw line by the ref in a 52-51 game with 19 seconds remaining after Clark, one of the team's senior leaders, initially thought he was fouled. "I just knew that it was really crucial for the game, so I just knocked them down."
Ty McGee, who went 9 for 17 from the field, had a game-high 23 points and 14 rebounds for the top-seeded team out of the Guy Gibbs Region. The senior forward consistently led the charge for the Jaguars, who ran out to a 15-8 lead after the first quarter and kept their lead around that seven- or eight-point margin throughout most of Saturday's contest.
Sand Creek rallied anyway, however, and will face Pueblo East in the semifinals at Boulder's Coors Events Center on Friday.
"This was a special win for all us," Clark said in the midst of the celebration.