Special to the Courier
PUEBLO—Even in the post-Dick Katte era, wrapping up its first season this weekend, it’s pretty safe to say that the Crusaders don’t mind playing as though the bench legend still calls the shots.
But due to Sanford’s slow, deliberate running of an offense around the three-point arc Friday evening inside CSU-Pueblo’s Massari Arena, Denver Christian simply wasn’t able to play their game.
Fortunately for new skipper Ray Van Heukelem, senior forward Alex Terpstra played his.
Not only during the opening two, Indian-dominated frames producing an 18-16 halftime advantage on Harry H. Simmons Court, but all four to the fullest in racking up a game-high 21 points, and also as the conductor of DC’s clock-killing schemes during the final three minutes of a 47-43 victory.
But in addition to themselves, SHS certainly made the 3-seed squad sweat before its upset of the No. 2 was completed. Unguarded on the weak side for a mid-air rebound, senior Calder Larsen cleaned up a Dalton Rodriguez three-point miss and was fouled on the play. His ‘and-one’ free throw was no good, but Sanford maintained possession with 0:02.4 left after extended discussions, on the clock.
Freshman Miles Caldon’s inbounds pass went to freshman post Chance Canty in the near corner, but while trying to induce contact from his defender, he did not get enough behind the shot and the ball fell harmlessly into the hands of Crusader reserve Robert Parker as the final buzzer sounded.
Larsen (17 points) had begun the game with a 3-pointer, and SHS seemed content to be patient and only attack Christian’s able interior when ideally opportune. But Terpstra dropped in a pair of free throws late, and Canty (11 pts) was unable to get a shot up at the buzzer, leaving the Crusaders (20-6) ahead 8-7.
Milking nearly 40 seconds off the clock to start the second, but with no points produced, Sanford still kept DC in check aside from Terpstra treys that put the Crusaders up 13-9, and later brought them level with the Indians at 16-16 with 1:12 before intermission. Playing a strong half, Canty was able to power inside for a basket with 27 seconds left for the lead through two periods.
SHS was also outstanding at the line during the half, hitting 11 of 13; they’d finish 24-of-30. Denver Christian was 11-of-16 for the game, but with senior guard Josh Carter starting the third with a triple, and netting seven points total in the quadrant, more and more Crusaders became involved offensively. Meanwhile, Sanford continued working for numerous quality looks, but could not convert.
With 2:48 left in the third, Terpstra drilled another 3-pointer for a 27-25 DC lead. And with Parker able to run the floor for two transition layups late, the lead hit 35-27 with only eight minutes left.
Terpstra and SHS’ Dustin Faucette swapped pairs at the stripe to re-start the action, but Denver Christian built its pad up to 43-34 on a difficult Raphael Luna layup under duress. Rodriguez dropped in a late reply with a similar degree of difficulty, bringing the Indians (now 22-4) back to 46-41, but the Crusaders’ top-of-the-key denial of repeated long-range looks in the waning moments ultimately denied Sanford a berth in the State Championship.
But all is not, well, lost; SHS will take the court today at 2 p.m. with a chance to save third.
SANFORD (7-11-9-16—43): Calder Larsen 3 9-11 17, Dalton Rodriguez 1 2-5 4, Miles Caldon 0 2-2 2, Chance Canty 3 5-6 11, Dustin Faucette 0 4-4 4, Wyatt Anderson 0 0-0 0, Adam Romero 0 0-0 0, Kyler Jackson 0 0-0 0, Griffin Peterson 0 0-0 0, Austin Chavez 0 0-0 0, Clayton Peterson 1 0-0 3, Brett Crowther 0 2-2 2. TOTALS: 8 24-30 43. 3-POINTERS: Larsen 2, C.Peterson. FOULED OUT: None.
DEN. CHRISTIAN (8-8-19-12—47): Tate Kastens 1 1-2 3, Alex Terpstra 6 6-6 21, Raphael Luna 2 1-2 5, Luke Spykstra 0 1-2 1, Josh Carter 3 2-4 9, Mason Hofer 0 0-0 0, Josh VanEps 0 0-0 0, Forrest Sanderson 0 0-0 0, Robert Parker 3 0-0 6, Reed VandenBroeke 0 0-0 0, Jared Van Dyke 1 0-0 2, Aric Aman 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16 11-16 47. 3-POINTERS: Terpstra 3, Carter. FOULED OUT: None.