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boys basketball

Arvada West boys hoops eyes being in the 5A Jeffco League mix

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ARVADA — Arvada West’s boys basketball team hopes Dec. 12 was merely a hiccup.

Rocky Mountain came into the Wildcats’ gym and took a 53-46 victory in a non-league game before winter break. It’s the second straight victory for Rocky Mountain (3-5 record) after getting out to an 0-5 start.

“It’s huge. We started the season off pretty bad,” said Rocky Mountain senior Joe Elliott, who led the Lobos with 23 points going 9-for-13 from the field. “This is a really big confidence booster for us.”

It’s the second straight loss for A-West (4-3) after getting out to a 3-0 start.

“It’s a hiccup if we come back tomorrow and play well,” A-West coach Jeff Parriott said after the home loss. “If we repeat it tomorrow, we’ll definitely have some things we have to correct. We’ve played five nights and tonight was the first night where we didn’t play like the team we want to be.”

A-West got back on the court Dec. 13 and suffered a 63-56 road loss at Arapahoe. The Wildcats did close out the week with a 41-21 victory against Boulder on Dec. 15.

A-West’s start this season includes a second-place finish at the Fairview Festival tournament where the Wildcats defeated Denver South and host Fairview before losing to Denver East, No. 1 in this week’s CHSAANow.com Class 5A boys basketball poll, in the title game.

It was a different story against Rocky Mountain last week.

“We weren’t good defensively. I think we were too quick on offense. We missed free throws and turned the ball over,” Parriott said. “I don’t know when you do all those things if you can win.”

Senior Isaiah Brewer led A-West with 18 points. Fellow senior James Pelon pitched in 11 points despite being in foul trouble for most of the game. Junior Josh Rogers pitched in 12 points for the Wildcats.

The Lobos came into Tuesday’s game with just one victory. Coming off a victory against Grand Junction seemed to give Rocky Mountain the momentum it needed to finish strong against A-West.

Rocky Mountain trailed at halftime, but outscored A-West 29-19 in the second half. The Wildcats made just eight field goals in the second half.

“We really focused on not letting any easy 3s because A-West is a good shooting team,” Elliott said. “We wanted to make sure they didn’t get any open shots. I think we did a good job of that.”

The Lobos focused on taking it inside in the final quarter. Elliott and junior Joseph Urynowicz took over in the final quarter. The two combined to score 12 of 16 of the Lobos’ points in the fourth quarter.

“Joe Elliott and Joseph Urynowicz started being aggressive in the fourth quarter,” Rocky Mountain coach Brian Tafel said. “There is nothing more satisfying than a victory on the road.”

The 5A Jeffco League appears to be up for grabs this season. Two-time defending conference champion Chatfield is off to an 2-4 start. A-West, Bear Creek and Dakota Ridge are actually the only 5A Jeffco teams with above .500 records early in the season.

“The thing we have in our league (5A Jeffco) is there are a lot of teams who have players who haven’t played (varsity) a lot,” Parriott said. “We are trying to get better for January.”

The Wildcats begin their conference schedule at Bear Creek on Jan. 4.

Dennis Pleuss is a communications specialist for Jeffco Public Schools with a focus on athletics and activities. For more Jeffco coverage, go online at CHSAANow.com/Jeffco.

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