With Strong Defensive Effort
By George Snyder
The Gilpin guys’ basketball team got into the playoff tournament by extending their win streak over Denver Waldorf to five games with a 54-47 road win, but then Shining Mountain closed the show on Monday by crushing their hopes 60-24 at the Lions’ gym. The two games left the Eagles with a 7-13 record for the season.
The Denver Waldorf game was one of the Eagles’ finest games of the season, according to Coach Paul Hanson. They grabbed a narrow lead early in the game and then hung on through a perilous second half that saw the Spartans move to a 34-32 deficit at the end of the third quarter. The Eagles went into a delay game that required Waldorf to foul to catch up. The Eagles hit 11 of 15 free throws in the final period and edged away by a 20-15 margin.
A fine defensive effort also helped as Gilpin revived its 1-3-1 half court zone to go along with the similar half court press, and it stymied a Spartan offense that had just recently stopped Community Christian and Cornerstone Christian and brought a near victory over third-place Jim Elliot, only to lose a last second basket.
Tyler Eldridge sank four 3-point baskets to lead the Eagles’ scoring with 20 points, while Chase Boulter contributed 11 and Dalton Dziedzic sank 10 to help.
The Shining Mountain game was another story. The Eagles suffered through an 18-4 deficit in the second quarter and were never in the game thereafter, as their scorers could not penetrate the lids on the Lions’ baskets. The Lions didn’t do that well either. The Eagles’ defenders, particularly Chase Boulter, shut down league-leading scorer Alex Beal with only 11 points, after allowing him to pound the basket for 36 points two weeks ago at the Gilpin gym. Boulter was the “one” man in the Eagles’ Box-and-One defense, and he blocked two of the taller Beal’s shots in the process. However, no one scored in double figures for the Eagles.
The loss to Shining Mountain closes the season for the Eagles. This year’s team was one that learned how to fight back by stealing the ball and shooting more often. If not for a mid-season slump due to illnesses and injuries, it might have done even better in the standings. With only two seniors – Morgan Foelsch and Andrew Immordino – leaving, if this team can stay together much more exciting play should be on the Gilpin menu for next year. Meanwhile thanks go to all of the players and to the coaches, Paul Hanson and Buddy Schmalz, for giving the fans an exciting team and one that promises greater things for the future.
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