LAKEWOOD — Golden senior Luke Anderson doesn’t mind taking the big shot at the critical moment.
“I definitely want those shots,” Anderson said after draining a pair of huge 3-pointers late Wednesday night at Green Mountain High School. “Those are the shots I love to take.”
The Demons (6-5, 2-2 in Class 4A Jeffco League) held off a second-half rally by Green Mountain, ranked No. 6 in this week’s CHSAANow.com Class 4A boys basketball rankings. Golden pulled away late in the fourth quarter for an eventual 48-38 road victory Jan. 12.
The Rams (8-2, 3-1) had cut Golden’s double-digit lead down to a point — 38-37 — when senior Corbin Jantzer scored on the inside with 3:21 left in the fourth quarter. Anderson had the answer with not one, but two 3-pointers in the final minutes to help the Demons close the game on a 10-1 run.
“We were just kind of stalling on offense. I knew we needed a big shot,” Anderson said. “I want to shoot those shots. We want to go win it instead of playing like we just don’t want to lose. We want to go win it.”
On both 3-pointers, Golden senior Richie Pruett dished the ball to Anderson standing just beyond the arc in front of the Demons’ bench and student section. The second 3-pointer with 1:07 to play pushed Golden’s lead to 44-37.
“Those were huge. Those were two huge buckets,” Golden coach Lou Vullo said of Anderson’s 3-pointers.
Green Mountain senior Cooper Francy and Jantzer each scored 16 points as the Rams desperately tried to rally and avoid its first home and league loss.
“That’s the lesson,” Green Mountain coach Mike Puccio said. “Against good teams like that points are hard to come by. You can’t spot a team like that.”
Golden held a 34-17 lead in the third quarter, but Green Mountain got right back in the game with a 12-0 run. In the end the Rams could never tie or take the lead. The pair of 3-pointers by Anderson sealed the Demons’ win.
“I think if we get a stop there it’s a different game,” Puccio said of Anderson’s huge pair of 3-pointers in the final 3 minutes of the final quarter.
The loss leaves D’Evelyn (9-2, 5-0) as the lone undefeated team left in 4A Jeffco League play.
“We were flat. We were down guys, but that isn’t an excuse,” Puccio said. “There were league title implications in our minds with this one. It’s disappointing.”
Vullo was extremely pleased with the Demons’ rebounding and defense to hold the Rams to their second lowest offensive output of the season.
“That was the game plan going in. We knew they had some shooters,” Vullo said of holding the Rams to zero 3-pointers in the first half and only 14 points. “We took that away from them. Our guys played great on-ball defense.”
Pruett was held to 9 points, well below his 22.2 average. However, he was a monster on the glass with 14 rebounds. Senior Zach Weiler poured in a dozen points going 6-for-6 from the field for the Demons.
“The kids knew what was on the line,” Vullo said of how important it was not to drop a second conference game this early in league play. “We have some really good senior leadership.”
Golden suffered an overtime road loss to D’Evelyn last week. The Demons can look forward to home rematches against D’Evelyn and Green Mountain during the second-half of the 16-game league schedule.
“We always want to beat Green Mountain. We love beating them,” Anderson said. “We definitely couldn’t lose another league game. We wanted to make a statement.”
Green Mountain got back on track with a home win over Evergreen on Jan. 14. The Demons on the other hand blew a double-digit first half lead on the road against Standley Lake on the same night.
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.