ThunderRidge boys basketball coach Joe Ortiz imagines the Grizzlies learned a lot from their loss to top-ranked Fossil Ridge on Dec. 9. The ThunderRidge Grizzlies, the defending Class 5A state …
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ThunderRidge boys basketball coach Joe Ortiz imagines the Grizzlies learned a lot from their loss to top-ranked Fossil Ridge on Dec. 9.
The ThunderRidge Grizzlies, the defending Class 5A state champions with no seniors on this season’s team, had a chance to knock off the Sabercats but wound up losing 84-81 in double overtime.
“It was a classic game,” said Ortiz. “I’m proud of our guys. We were not supposed to even be in the game with them. We don’t have any seniors, we have a team. We’re trying to find our way. We’re improving in leaps and bounds. It was a huge game for learning.”
ThunderRidge, down by as many as nine points early in the game, twice pulled to within a point late in the first half and finally grabbed a 67-61 lead with 51.5 seconds left in regulation time, but Fossil Ridge hit two 3-point baskets and ThunderRidge missed a free throw, which forced the game into the first four-minute overtime.
Two 3-point baskets by 6-foot-5 junior Charlie Spann helped the Grizzlies come back to tie the game at 75-all and force a second overtime.
Spann hit two more shots as ThunderRidge tied the second overtime at 79-79 with 1:29 to play but a 5-0 run by the Fort Collins team won the game.
“It was a good win for them but we fought hard,” said Spann. “I was a little tired and my legs were gone.”
Spann finished with 31 points, and 28 came in the second half.
Andrew Crawford, a 6-6 junior, had 29 points for the Grizzlies and 14 came in the first half. He made six 3-point baskets.
ThunderRidge, 6-1, came back 14 hours after the loss to Fossil Ridge to defeat Rocky Mountain 79-64 in the third-place game. Spann and Crawford each had 22 points in the win.
Fossil Ridge, 5-1, did not do as well in the championship game as Valor Christian edged the Sabercats 70-68 to win the title.
Valor, 3-0, scored 18 points in the fourth quarter to upset Fossil Ridge. No statistics on the game were available.
In other Highlands Ranch sports news, Highlands Ranch High School girls basketball coach Caryn Jarocki won her 700th career game on Dec. 8 with a 50-31 victory over Mullen.
Jarocki improved her record to 700-184 in 38 seasons as a high school coach, 19 of which have been at Highlands Ranch after starting out at Colorado Academy.
The former University of Denver player is the winningest girls basketball coach in Colorado high school history. She has won seven state titles.
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