Published: January 25, 2014
According to The Associated Press' latest poll, Thompson Valley has Class 4A's top team.
According to the stats, Cheyenne Mountain guard Ghassan Nehme is 4A's top scorer.
But when the two squads met Saturday at Cheyenne Mountain, Thompson Valley prevailed because it found a way to spread the scoring around while limiting the damage provided by Nehme in a 56-47 Eagles' victory.
"Ghassan is going to get his points, and he's probably the best player in 4A," said Eagles guard Grant Rohrbouck, one of three double-digit scorers. "Either we stop him, or they win. We all clamped up and played good defense."
Collin Smith paced a balanced scoring attack with 19 points, Rohrbouck added 16 while Mike Olivas chipped in with 13, as the Eagles (14-1) rallied from an early 10-point deficit to run their winning streak to eight games.
Nehme reached his average of 26 points but had no other teammate join him in double figures. The senior guard poured in 14 of the team's 18 points in the first quarter and had 16 by halftime.
By then, the Eagles had begun to slow Nehme, who had just one basket in the second quarter. Thompson Valley had tied the game at 24 by the break.
The Indians (9-4) struggled in the middle quarters, scoring only six and eight points, respectively, as they connected on just six of 22 shots.
"We came out hot, but Thompson Valley is a very good defensive team," Nehme said. "We went away from what we were doing and we didn't play so well. We didn't execute and they outplayed us. They deserved to win."
Thompson Valley, ahead 36-32 after three quarters, stretched it to 46-36 with 3:30 left, highlighted by 3-pointers from Olivas and Rohrbouck.
Consecutive 3-pointers from Nathan Resty and Nehme cut the Eagles' lead to 47-45 with 1:31 left, but the Eagles made eight consecutive free throws down the stretch to keep the Indians at bay.
"We usually have three scorers in double figures, so we know anybody can step up at any time," Rohrbouck said. "We've been able to stay consistent. At halftime, we knew we had to pick it up."