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Ross Rescues Raptors at Smoky Hill

Ross Rescues Raptors at Smoky Hill


The Smoky Hill High School gym was a sell out on Friday night.  As spectators packed into the gym to witness the #8 Eaglecrest Raptors and the #7 Smoky Hill Buffaloes fight for supremacy in a very competitive Centennial League. This shot by Eaglecrest senior guard Colbey Ross gave the Raptors a 64-63 victory over the Buffaloes.

Wow! What a shot! @cdot_ross Colbey Ross game winner
Eaglecrest 64
Smoky Hill 63 #copreps pic.twitter.com/qQH33tmfHp

— basketballcolorado (@bball_co) January 21, 2017

This wasn’t one of Ross’s overall best performances but the senior showed savvy and swagger in the final quarter to help bring the Raptors back from a double deficit in the fourth quarter. 

The first quarter was fast and furious and filled with fouls for the Raptors. Meanwhile, Smoky Hill struggled with the Eaglecrest defense playing just a step too fast leading to turnovers and bad passes.  Junior John Harge put the Buffaloes ahead with five points to start the game and was a strong presence in the paint through the first quarter.  The Raptors forwards also made an impression on the first quarter with junior Morgan Brown scoring six points including four in the final minute of the quarter to give the Raptors a 12-11 by the end of the period.  Brown got extended minutes as Ikenna Ozor had to go to the bench in foul trouble and then was injured missing the rest of the game.

In the second quarter, the Buffaloes went on a 9-4 run over the first 4:30 minutes and took a 20-16 lead after a 3-pointer by junior Kyle Cabs. The 6’6 forward, Cabs had the task of facing guarding Ross for much of the second quarter.  Cabs did his job and Ross did not force the issue of getting the ball. With others handling on the ball duties, the Eaglecrest offense stalled a bit and had only scored four points in the first 4:30 of play.  After Ross scored four points in less than 30 seconds the Raptors had tied up the game. The Raptors ended the quarter on 10-2 run in the last two minutes of the quarter to lead 30-22.  Junior guard Victor Garnes score on this jumper to end the first half.


Smoky came out from the locker room on fire on both ends of the floor. Eaglecrest, on the other hand, had become turnover prone. The Raptors struggled mightily in the third quarter, ball handling, passing, shot making and rebounding all fell short. The Raptors could only muster seven points in the quarter. The Smoky Hill defense gets all of the credit for Eaglecrest’s misery. The Buffaloes seemingly got every 50/50, did not allow more than just a handful offensive rebounds. The talented Smoky Hill sophomore Kenny Foster erupted in the third quarter after being held in check in the first half.  Foster scored 14 points in the quarter including his own six-point run that gave the Buffaloes a 39-32 lead with 3:00 left in the third quarter.

Smoky Hill started the final quarter on 10-4 run and the momentum appeared to be on the side of the Buffaloes. Smoky Hill got easy looks at the basket as many Raptors were in foul trouble and would not slide over to help on defense. Then Ross got going. The senior guard had scored 17 points in the final quarter including his game winner. However while Ross and Foster were trading baskets, it was the supporting cast that was doing the heavy lifting. Senior guard Jamie Rich nailed a 3-pointer to cut the Buffalo eight-point lead to five with 3:45 left in the game.  The Raptors were to able to cut into the lead again as Austin Forsberg nailed a 3 pointer with just over 2:00 left to cut the Buffalo lead to 57-55.

Then the free throw contest started between the two teams. Smoky Hill could never push the lead past four points.  In the final two minutes, the Buffaloes were unable to control the ball and got a little shaky from the free throw line. Ross on the other hand, showed why he is one of the front-runners for Basketball Colorado Player of the Year.  Ross dominated the last 2:00 of the game.  He went 10-10 from the line in the fourth quarter, eight of them coming in the last two minutes of the game. None were more important for Ross than when he sank two free throws with 19.3 seconds left making it a one point Smoky Hill lead 62-61.  After Foster went 1-2 with 15.1 left and Eaglecrest was able to secure the rebound and then set up the final shot for Ross.

After the victory over Smoky Hill, Eaglecrest rests atop the Centennial League. They will be joined by the winner of  #4 Grandview vs. #9 Cherry Creek game on Saturday tied for 1st place in the league.

Double Digit Scorers


Harge -11

Phillips -11

Foster – 21

Smoky Hill

Garnes -11

Ross – 24

Brown – 10