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Raptors Pick Apart Raiders

Rangeview’s Dezant Burks (13) and Eaglecrest’s Sean Watkins vie for a missed free throw during the second half of the Raptors’ 45-32 Class 5A boys Sweet 16 playoff victory over the Raiders on March 6, 2013, at Eaglecrest High School (Photo courtesy Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)


Raptors Pick Apart Raiders


Matt Langley




Centennial, CO – When the Eaglecrest Raptors and Rangeview Raiders advanced to face each other in the Sweet 16 of the 5A Boys State basketball Tournament, many expected a fast-paced, high scoring affair.  Instead what the packed Nest witnessed Wednesday night was a defensive struggle with both teams holding each other well below their normal scoring averages and combing for at least 42 turnovers. In the end the Raptor defense was better. The Raptors’ defense caused the Raiders to turn the ball over at least 24 times and held Rangeview’s leading scorer junior Jeremiah Paige to just 8 points, 12 points below his season average. The Raptors advanced to the Elite 8 defeating the Raiders 45-32,

The first half was a struggle offensively for both teams. Both teams combined for 25 turnovers in the first half.  Eaglecrest held the Raiders to just 3 points in the first quarter, a three-pointer by Paige with 4:50 left in the first quarter.  Rangeview would not score for another 8 minutes until senior Larry Bridges hit a shot in the paint scoring the first points for either team in the quarter with 4:40 left. Eaglecrest TreShawn Wilford scored 8 of the Raptors’ 18 points in the 1st half highlighted by two three-pointers the last of which pushed the lead to 16-9 which was the largest lead in the half for Eaglecrest. Rangeview senior Dezant Burks scored 4 points toward the end of the second quarter to get the Raiders into double figures, but Eaglecrest took an 18-11 lead into halftime.

Rangeview scored the first 4 points of the second half behind brothers Larry and Trey Bridges, but Eaglecrest answered with 6 straight points to gain a 9 point lead, 24-15 with 5:08 remaining in the 3rd quarter.  Rangeview would only score 2 more points in the quarter, both coming from free throws. The Eaglecrest matchup zone caused the Raiders to slow down and become passive. The Raiders rarely attacked the gaps of the defense off the dribble, and when they did, they were met by at least three Raptor defenders in the paint. Then the Raptors would use their quick hands to cause deflections or poor passes out of the paint. The Raptors were led by senior Rayjon Craig and junior Jaisean Jackson, both scoring 5 points.

Craig led the way for Eaglecrest in the fourth quarter scoring 6 of his 11 points in the quarter. The Raiders’ Larry Bridges and Paige scored 4 and 5 points respectively in the quarter, but it wouldn’t be enough. The Raptors increased their lead to 16 points, 44-28 after making two technical foul shots. Eaglecrest shot 7 of 10 from the free throw line in the quarter not allowing the Raiders to cut into the lead.

Wilford ended the game with 11 points for the Raptors while the leading scorer for the Raiders was Larry Bridges with 9 points. Eaglecrest will next play Friday in the Elite 8 held at the Denver Coliseum versus Regis Jesuit. Times for all Elite 8  games will be posted later today.