Like a good blockbuster movie, Vista Ridge vs. Fountain-Fort Carson delivered.
Home team fans leapt out of their seats and crowded the side of the court for every Trojan block. Stands on either side erupted for every massive 3-pointer. And in the end, the underdogs came out on top as howls from Wolves fans echoed throughout the Trojan basketball court in celebration of Vista’s 52-47 win over previously undefeated Fountain-Fort Carson on Thursday night.
The game lived up to the hype but not in the way one might expect. The contest featured two senior shooting guards who had broken their respective schools' records for most 3-pointers in a game earlier in the season. But neither Vista Ridge’s Caleb Kelley nor Fountain-Fort Carson’s Antonio Joseph Martinez were major factors in the contest.
Unfortunately, Kelley collapsed minutes into the first quarter and was hospitalized following the game.
"He's been dealing with some things that are kind of confusing to all of us," Wolves coach Joe Hites said after the game. "They took him to the hospital, I'm going to go there right now and just make sure he's okay. That's where my number one concern is right now."
Despite the scary moment, the Wolves remained locked on to their opponents and got a big night from their other great shooter, senior forward Tyson Monck.
"We came in hungry to knock off the undefeated team in our league," Monck said. "When our best shooter went down, we didn't skip a beat we knew what we had to do. We were well prepared with our coaches who made sure we knew everything about the other team. So huge team win and love the way we came together at the end to finish them off."
Monck hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter to give Vista Ridge a narrow 22-20 lead at the half.
The Wolves found a rhythm in what was a dominant third quarter for Vista Ridge. Monck hit an open three to begin the quarter, then sophomore Quentin Maldonado made another 3-pointer and was fouled. Following the 4-point play, Monck made a second shot from beyond the arc on the ensuing Wolves possession, leading Trojans coach Paul Mileto to call a time out. The Wolves bench hollered in excitement following the sequence.
Despite trailing 34-25 heading into the fourth quarter, Fountain-Fort Carson didn't go quietly. The Trojans forced a few Wolves' turnovers on bad dribbles and got stellar offensive plays from senior forward William Toney and junior guard James Murray. The Trojans' effort reignited the passion of the fans as the home team cut the Wolves' lead to as little as four at one point.
Monck and junior Jake Gulbrandson didn't let the game slip through Vista's grasp. The two came up big at the free-throw line, with Gulbrandson hitting all six of his free throws in the fourth and Monck hitting five after missing all four of his previous attempts.
"I just knew I'm a shooter and I'm going to make it eventually so keep shooting the ball," Monck said.
Monck finished with a game-high 27 points and the Wolves finished with a massive Colorado Springs Metro League win leaving them tied in first place with Doherty.
"This is a tough place to play and that obviously is a really good team and you don't need me to say that they're undefeated," Hites said. "And then to do it without Caleb, we had kids that were nervous, we had kids that made their share of mistakes. But at the end of the day, I thought they stayed really poised and handled the onslaught of some momentum runs."