Golden boys basketball cools off rival Wheat Ridge

Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 1/28/20

WHEAT RIDGE — Golden picked a good night to make a season-high 11 3-pointers. “We kind of figured they would play us in a zone,” Golden coach Lou Vullo said after the Demons shot 11-for-22 …

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Golden boys basketball cools off rival Wheat Ridge

Posted

WHEAT RIDGE — Golden picked a good night to make a season-high 11 3-pointers.

“We kind of figured they would play us in a zone,” Golden coach Lou Vullo said after the Demons shot 11-for-22 from long range on their way to a huge Class 4A Jeffco League boys basketball win Wednesday night. “We worked on (3-pointers) the last few days.”

Golden — No. 12 in the CHSAANow.com Class 4A rankings this week — ended a six-game winning streak rival Wheat Ridge had going coming into the conference showdown. The Demons (10-5, 4-1) pulled away in the final minute to take a 68-61 victory on the Farmers’ home court.

“They haven’t shot like that the whole year,” Wheat Ridge coach Tommy Dowd said. “In a game like this guys step up and make shots. You have to give credit to them. They made the shots tonight.”

Golden had seven 3-pointers at halftime that helped the Demons to a 35-29 lead at the break. The shots from long range didn’t come as easy in the second half as the Farmers (7-5, 3-1) went on a 9-0 run and actually took a 55-53 lead after a 3-pointer by Wheat Ridge senior Alex Morales with 5:17 left in the fourth quarter.

However, the lead was short-lived. Golden senior Ben McLaughlin — who finished with four 3-pointers on the night and a team-high 15 points — buried back-to-back 3-pointers to regain the lead for good.

“I trust our guys and we can light it up in practice,” McLaughlin said. “Shots got to fall in a game like this. They played off of us a little bit and we just had to connect.”

The final field goal by the Demons featured a nifty inside move by Golden senior guard Jack Anderson in the final minute. Anderson was able to drive by Morales, but was picked up by Wheat Ridge senior Dominic Bronk down low on the defensive switch.

“I kind of got too deep for a second,” said Anderson, who flipped up a left-handed shot past Bronk to put the Demons up 64-61 with less than a minute left. “I turned around and I just knew I had to make the shot.”

Wheat Ridge failed to score after junior Dominic Cross put in the Farmers’ final points with 1:18 left in the game.

“Some of that is experience,” Dowd said of the Farmers getting outscored 6-0 in the final minute after cutting Golden’s lead to 62-61. “We haven’t been in a game like this where it feels different. It wasn’t a lack of effort. It was a lack of execution. That is something to fix.”

After a rough 1-4 start to the season, Wheat Ridge came into last Wednesday’s game as the hottest team in 4A Jeffco. Now, the defending conference champion doesn’t have much room for error.

D’Evelyn, Golden, Green Mountain and Wheat Ridge are all within a game of each other in the conference standings with either seven or eight league games remaining for everyone in 4A Jeffco.

“This league is totally wild,” Vullo said. “I think it’s going to come down to the end. Every night in this league you have to come to play. If you don’t you are going to be in trouble for sure.”

Golden had another game of balanced scoring. Anderson and senior Carter Thompson both had 11 points each. Junior Nathan Wiggins had a trio of 3-pointers to finish with nine points and freshman Alan Acevedo also had nine points.

Morales had a game-high 17 points to lead the Farmers. Bronk (11 points) and junior Greyson Van Tuyl (15 points) dominated inside at times for Wheat Ridge, but both didn’t have a field goal in the final quarter.

“You throw out the rankings out the window when you have a rivalry like this,” said Vullo, who lost twice to the Farmers last season in his first year coaching the Demons. “I didn’t know until last year what this rivalry meant until I saw how bad it hurt our kids.”

The Farmers got back on track with a road win against D’Evelyn on Jan 24. The Demons lost a non-league game at home against DSST: Byers on Jan. 24, and get back into conference play this week.

Dennis Pleuss is a media specialist for Jeffco Public Schools with a focus on athletics and activities. For more Jeffco coverage, go online at CHSAANow.com

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