Falcons get defensive in pursuit of crown

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Jim Benton
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HIGHLANDS RANCH - Highlands Ranch senior forward Ryan Margheim capsulized the Falcons basketball philosophy in one statement.

“If you let them score, what’s the use of having a good offense,” Margheim said.

In other words, the Falcons put a lot of emphasis on defense.

“Defense is a very important part of our scheme,” said senior Isaiah Parros. “That’s what we focus on. We get a lot of easy baskets off our defense. We really look at it as our key.”

Last week, seventh-ranked Highlands Ranch whipped Dakota Ridge, 61-41, before losing for the first time this season, 53-44, at Fossil Ridge.

In the first four games this season, the Falcons are allowing 49.8 points per game and forcing eight turnovers a

contest.

Highlands Ranch coach Bob Caton has never had trouble convincing players that success on the basketball court begins with good defensive play.

“It’s always been the same, 20 years ago or 40 years ago,” he said. “Kids will buy in if they know it will make them a better player and a better team.”

Parros, a 6-foot-4 senior, has always been a defender since he started playing basketball.

“I’ve always been a defensive-minded person,” said Parros.

“Offense really wasn’t my strength so I focused on defense because I could get steals and that leads to offense and I could get easy baskets.

“Defense is mostly heart. It’s will, get down and guard the person in front of you. The techniques can be learned but it is all heart.”

For the first two weeks of practice this season, the attention of Falcon practices was on defense.

“Coach Caton really emphasizes defense,” said Margheim.

“I know he’s a great offensive coach too but you’re not going to get the ball unless you play defense.

“We really emphasized defense those first couple weeks of practice. By playing good defense those first couple games allowed us to focus a little more on

offense.”

Parros is the team’s second leading scorer, averaging 10.5 points per game for a team that is scoring at a 54.8 clip. He is averaging 3.3 steals per game.

Junior Evan Motlong leads the Falcons with a 16.8 scoring average and Margheim scores 8 points a game.

Highlands Ranch has a tough non-league schedule to tune up for upcoming games in the always-tough Continental

League.

“This league is so balanced,” Caton said. “It’s like the old days in the Denver Prep League. There are a lot of good teams in the Continental League. I don’t think any of our teams are as good as they’ve been in the past but I think we’re all about the same. It’s a real balanced league. It hasn’t dropped off. It’s going to be a dog fight.”

The Falcons haven’t avoided scheduling tough non-league games like against Fossil Ridge and Grandview.

Highlands Ranch played No. 5 Aurora Central Tuesday and has a February game scheduled against top-ranked

Denver East.

“That’s what we want,” said Caton. “We want to play tough competition.”