The Gazette 5A/4A Boys' Basketball Peak Performer of the Year: Ghassan Nehme, Cheyenne Mountain

April 12, 2014 Updated: April 12, 2014 at 7:06 pm
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Ghassan Nehme of Cheyenne Mountain High School is The Gazette's big schools boys' basketball Player of the Year. Photo by Mason Trinca, The Gazette

Sure, Ghassan Nehme will remember the true highlights of his senior season at Cheyenne Mountain. Let's see, for starters there was a last-second jumper to beat Doherty and a 43-point effort against Lewis-Palmer in which the 6-foot-2 guard hit eight 3-pointers.

And who will forget a remarkable four-point play to cap a double-overtime comeback against Thompson Valley in the quarterfinals that sent the Indians to the semifinals for the first time in school history?

Nehme's first thoughts to what he remembered about his final season at Cheyenne Mountain, however, went far beyond anything measured by statistics.

All he had to do was look around his home gym.

"Cheyenne always had pretty decent home crowds," said Nehme, who ranked third in the state in scoring at 27.1 points and signed with Montana State earlier this year. "This year, by far, was the biggest crowds we've had, by far. I don't think we would have gone as far as we did without the school spirit and the community behind us."

Last season, the Indians made history by advancing to the Class 4A quarterfinals for the first time, but seemed to be more motivated by a loss to eventual state-champion Lewis-Palmer than basking in their achievement.

And with Nehme and three other key contributors from that team returning, the Indians had the pieces in place to make another deep playoff run, perhaps to make history again.

The first half of the season tested that goal, however, as Nehme played without the services of Nathan Resty, Reece Eddy and Nehme's brother Christian, who all missed time early in the season. After a last-second loss to Sand Creek on Jan. 14, the Indians found themselves at 6-3, but more importantly, 1-2 in league play.

Nehme's outburst at home against Lewis-Palmer started a turnaround as, one by one, his team returned to full strength and ended the regular season on an 11-game league winning streak.

"It was good to have everybody back and playing together," said Nehme, whose playing days with several of his teammates dates back to the fourth grade. "We struggled without them, and we were able to make that run only because we had a great team effort."

That run ended one game shy of the state finals in a classic, seesaw thriller against Denver South that needed an extra four minutes to decide.

On Saturday, Nehme suited up for one last time, joining several former opponents at "The Show" all-star game at the Pepsi Center. Some of his teammates included Sand Creek's Dylan Clark and Denver South big man Ibrahim Sylla, both of whom led winning efforts against Cheyenne Mountain last season.

"We've had fun practicing together," Nehme said. "It's fun to be around those types of players, especially when they're all on your team."

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