Posted On: 03/8/18 1:28 PM
We have finally reached the Final Four in the CHSAA 5A State Tournament. This is a unique quartet as the two top overall seeds in the state are here in Rock Canyon and Thunder Ridge, but George Washington and Grandview have come as a surprise as they decided to play some of their best basketball late. Here we preview each team as they all get ready for the big game.
Rock Canyon – No. 1 Seed
Make no mistake about it, this has been the best team in the state as they have one of, if not the best player in the state for the 2018 season. Sam Masten has consistently been the best player in the state and with a season average of 22.5 points and 7.9 rebounds a game and in the Great 8 against Overland he didn’t disappoint as he finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and ensured that his team advanced to the next round. He controls the game and gets to the rim as easy as any player in the state and finished with contact, but also has the ability to set teammates up for open shots and that versatility separates him. Alongside him has been guard, Tyson Gilbert who has been the perfect compliment. He knocks down the big shot, he defends at an elite level and always seems ready for the big moment. With momentum on Overland’s side it was Tyson who knocked down a big 3-pointer and kick started the offense and his fearlessness down the stretch makes him special. The Jaguars will ride these two against a pesky George Washington unit that is also guard heavy and this has the makings of a classic. Hopefully they get some help from Blake Williams and Nick Janedis to ensure that they are at their best.
George Washington – No. 5 Seed
The team that Rock Canyon is playing is George Washington and this is a unit that gets it done by any means. They play with pace, but can switch it up. They have great guards, but can feed the post and have shown that they have players who are ready to step up and make a big play. In their 42-41 win over Smoky Hill it was a team effort, but, no so often called for his offense, senior, Shawn’Trell White that really made his mark on the game with an eight-point flurry to have the team rally. Jon’il Fugett, one of the state’s best point guards then hit a dagger, a floater at the buzzer to seal the win. This is a team that gets it done with their full team contributing and with Mohammed Diallo and Tray Pierce getting it done inside and Devin Jones and Xavier Cooper making their mark with their playmaking ability this will be a tough out for any team. This is a rematch as the Patriots fell early in the season 50-75 so it’s a revenge game and one I’m sure the team will be ready for. This is the game of the night.
Thunder Ridge – No. 2 Seed
This is as complete and ready a team as there is. They get it done inside, get it done outside, have good play makers, have senior leadership, a world class coach and players that want to defend. They finished the year with the best record in the state and Kaison Hammonds has led this team to the final four, He’s up to 15.8 points and 2.3 steals a game and it all starts with him to get his unit going, from there it’s been Tyson Cruickshank that controls the game, Austin Holt and Justin McCaw that holds the team together and Bailey Verk that’s been a pleasant surprise and has been willing his team to victories. In their nail-biter against Doherty with the game looking as if it were heading to overtime it was a Hammonds to Verk connection at the buzzer that won the game for the Grizzlies and seen them advance in their pursuit of a state championship.
No. 5 Grandview
Grandview is the most surprising team that’s still remaining, but, that goes on to show you why the games are played. They go into each game with a game plan and capitalize as they just might be the most disciplined team in the state of Colorado. They survived in a strong league which only prepared them for the playoffs and from there they’ve competed and finished out games as they’ve done all season long. Dayne Prim has been incredible in the playoffs as he’s shown he’s one of the best back to the basket players in the state. He’s been dominant and the team has surely got the ball in his hands, in their Great 8 upset over Chaparral the big man went for 18 points and seven rebounds a provided relief from guard Davon Walker who is hard to stay in front of. Ben Boone and Tyler Unger stepped up and scored when needed and Levi Dombro closed the game out from the free throw line. This is a team that matches up with every team and when they feed Prim or get the ball in the hands of Gunner Gentry, they’re at their best. I expect another big game from Prim and for the Wolves to win the battle in the paint, it’s up to the guards to contain Cruickshank and Hammonds.