Mesa Ridge Trei Ginn.jpeg

Trei Ginn, teammates celebrate 79-52 win over Windsor in the semifinals of the boys' 5A state championship

March 10, 2005, Trei Ginn was born. And 18 years later, the Mesa Ridge senior leapt into his school’s student section and celebrated with his community following the Grizzlies’ dominant 79-52 win Friday to advance to the boys’ basketball 5A state final.

Ginn’s Mesa Ridge classmates serenaded him with a rendition of “Happy Birthday” after he scored a game-high 27 points in the contest.

“To be honest the whole energy in this building was up there so I had to match,” Ginn said. “They get loud, we show out. They get loud, we play defense. (Windsor) wants to talk, we talk with our points on the board and on defense.”

Celebratory cake and ice cream will have to wait however, the birthday gift Ginn wants is a 5A state title and to get it he and the Grizzlies will have to beat the Air Academy Kadets.

Air Academy is the top-seeded team in the 5A bracket, and the Grizzlies are right behind them at No. 2. The Kadets are 25-2 on the year and Mesa is undefeated at 27-0.

The all-Colorado Springs final is as good as it gets for first-year Mesa Ridge coach Joel Babbitt.

“It’s awesome, I’ve known (Air Academy coach) Barry (Clark) for years so being able to represent our town, I mean Denver’s a huge place and north side’s got all the respect this year. But the fact that our boys in Colorado Springs get to play for a championship, I think that’s pretty special,” Babbitt said.

Windsor gave undefeated Mesa Ridge its best shot in the first half keeping it a 31-29 game in favor of the Grizzlies. Once Mesa Ridge put the clamps on Windsor defensively in the third quarter, the team blew the game wide open. The Wizards shot nine of 22 from the field in the second half in contrast to the Grizzlies who shot 19 of 31 in the third and fourth quarters.

Ginn had plenty of help from sophomore Bryce Riehl who went seven of 10, including shooting four of four from deep to score 20 points.

The Grizzlies kept their foot on the gas in the fourth, outscoring the Wizards 26 to 13. Ginn put the exclamation point on the birthday beatdown with a thunderous dunk.

The Mesa Ridge senior’s family moved to Florida, but Ginn moved back to stay with his team and friends, he said. He’s staying with Michelle Hubbard a friend of the family.

“I’m extremely proud of him. He’s been excelling, waiting for this moment to shine and it couldn’t happen on a better day,” she said.