On course for district title
Prior to the start of the 2009 season, coach Robin Loyed and his basketball team discussed goals for the upcoming year.
First, win the Southern Peaks league with an undefeated season.
They closed the regular season 19-0 with a 75-25 win over Holy Trinity on Saturday, February 21.
All three seniors hit double-digit scoring against the Tigers with Robbie Holleran leading the team with another double double scoring 18 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. John Wright added in 15 points and five rebounds and Chris Sharpe maintained his average points per game with 10 on the night.
More important, Loyed assigned sophomore Jake Grogg the job of shutting down Holy Trinity’s leading scorer. The first time the two teams met, the Tigers’ threat scored 19 points. This time around, Grogg smothered their leading scorer, holding him to single-digit scoring.
“I decided to ask Jake to shut this guy down and he held him to three points,” says Loyed.
Anchored by Grogg’s effort, the Titans held Holy Trinity to just 11 points in the first half, putting the game well out of reach with a 34-11 lead at halftime.
Sitting on a comfortable 23-point lead, Loyed started subbing in players to prepare them for the potential of post-season time. They responded with everyone putting up points, led by freshman Luis Aguirre with eight points and nine rebounds.
Barron Farnell iced the total team effort on offense, scoring another one of his patented buzzer-beating buckets.
“It was pretty balanced scoring,” says Loyed. “We played tough defense and took care of the basketball. It was a good tune up.”
Back to the team goals.
Loyed challenged his squad to average fewer than 10 turnovers a game this season.
Check. They averaged 9.6 turnovers per game.
Third, hold opponents to under 45 points per game.
Check, and then some. They held their opponents to an average of 35.6 points per game.
Now, they have their sights set on their next team goal: reach the Great Eight of the 1A state tournament.
On Tuesday, February 24 they opened their quest for the Great Eight with a 80-14 win over Mountain Valley in the first round of the district tournament.
The starters made quick work of the game early, as Holleran rattled off a series of steals for breakaway baskets.
Holleran finished the game with 26 points and Wright closed out his last game at Mt. Olympus with 17 points, including an alley oop off the glass.
The Titans now head to Adams State College in Alamosa for their next district tournament game on Friday, February 27 at 8 p.m. If they win that one they advance to the district finals on Saturday, February 28 at 5 p.m.
A win on Saturday would be the Titans’ first district title ever and will set up their first game in the regionals against the fourth seeded team out of District 2.
Two wins in regionals will get the Titans to the Great Eight.