Mountain Vista knocks off Regis, remains unbeaten

Jim Benton
Posted

AURORA - Elijah Valdez put Mountain Vista’s 77-73 Continental League win over Regis Jesuit in perspective.

The Golden Eagles, ranked No. 2 in the Class 5A poll, haven’t won anything yet but proved they could play with the state’s best teams with the win over the No. 5 Raiders in Regis’ Guy Gibbs Gymnasium.

“We’re 15-0,” said Valdez after Mountain Vista saddled Regis with its first home league setback since Jan. 22, 2008.

“We did enough to win,” said Golden Eagles coach Bob Wood. “I don’t think they’ve lost a league game here for four years. If we are going to have a chance to win a league title we had to win this one. This is not an easy place to play.”

Mountain Vista is now 4-0 in the Continental League and tied with fourth ranked ThunderRidge.

Regis Jesuit, 12-4, overall fell to 3-1 in league play and dropped into a tie with Highlands Ranch, Legend and Ponderosa.

Valdez, a 5-foot-11 senior guard, hit three consecutive 3-pointers at the start of the game to give the visitors a 9-0 lead.

Mountain Vista led by 12 points in the first quarter but the Raiders clawed back and trailed by only two, 40-38, at halftime.

Regis actually twice took the lead, once at 36-34 in the second quarter after a 3-point basket by Cam Beards, and early in the third quarter when a 3-point bucket by David Kadillak pushed the Raiders into a short-lived 46-45 lead.

Mountain Vista held a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter and was still up by 10 with 2:08 remaining.

However, the Raiders kept coming back and Mountain Vista helped by hitting only 4-of-8 free throws in the final 36.3 seconds. In fact, the Golden Eagles were only 2-of-6 from the charity line in the final ten seconds.

That gave Regis a chance to tie the game when Josh Perkins, the league’s leading scorer with a 25.8 average, was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 04.4 showing on the clock.

However, Perkins missed the first two free throws before sinking the third and then Damani Respass and Jake Pemberton each made one free throw for Mountain Vista to account for the final score.

“We took a couple bad shots late, a floater that was going to be a charge and a wild layup,” said Wood. “We should have held the ball for better shots, not that we didn’t want to attack, but to take better shots.

“It’s high school basketball and kids are going to make mistakes. We pulled through at the end. You put Josh Perkins on the line for three, you never know in this game.”

Senior forward Chandler Wiscombe saved his biggest scoring contributions until the fourth quarter, as he tossed in eight of his 15 points.

“It was a key time in the game,” he said. “Somebody had to step up.”

Valdez, who paced the Golden Eagles with 24 points, scored eight in the final quarter.

“I was looking for the 3-pointer too much early in the game but then I started driving to the basket,” he said. “We came out strong and taking the lead was important. We’re looking one game at a time.”

Mitch Carter, Mountain Vista’s 6-2 senior, picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter and saw limited action. He fouled out with 2:27 to play with eight points.

Mountain Vista’s defense on Perkins was also important.

Perkins finished with 26 points but he was hounded by Golden Eagle defenders and he forced several shots. He was 6-of-27 from the floor. which included a 1-for-12 performance from 3-point range.

“We guarded Perkins with Amir (Qadri) most of the time then we put Jake (Pemberton) on his at the end,” said Wood. “We did a pretty good job. We were happy. I though we guarded their other guys well.”

Pemberton finished with 14 points for the Golden Eagles.

Mitch Carter, Mountain Vista’s 6-2 senior, picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter and saw limited action. He fouled out with 2:27 to play with eight points.

“We played well,” said Wood. “We played a lot without Mitch. He’s one of our best players, he’s a four-year starter. A lot of guys stepped up.”

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