In the first quarter, the Clear Creek Golddiggers looked every bit the match for eighth-ranked Denver Christian on Feb. 2 at Clear Creek High School. They were hitting 3-pointers and attacking the basket at will.
Then came the second quarter.
A cold spell that lasted 8 minutes, 46 seconds netted Denver Christian an 18-0 run, a double-digit lead and all the momentum it would need in a 63-46 Mile High League boys basketball victory.
“We just couldn’t knock down a shot and then we tried to shoot our way of it from the 3-point line,” Clear Creek head coach Scott Haebe said. “We needed to get to the rim a little bit, get to the line a little bit. … We just went cold, literally cold.”
Ice cold as a matter of fact.
Clear Creek (2-1) couldn’t buy a basket. Meanwhile, it was Denver Christian (2-1) who was scoring at will with most of those points coming from Hendry Vandenberg, who scored 14 of his team-high 21 points in the first half.
“We need to work on our positioning on the other big guys in the league,” Clear Creek senior Reese Onago said. “He’s a very good one. I’ve played against him for four years now. He just improves and improves.”
“I don’t know how many runout layups they had and how many fast-break 3s, but that changed the game right there,” said fellow senior Seattle Schuessler, who finished with a game-high 23 points, 15 of those in the second half. Onago was the only other Clear Creek player in double figures with 15 points.
Clear Creek went from ahead 18-13 after the first quarter to trailing by eventually 22 points – 54-32 – by early in the fourth quarter.
The Golddiggers, who got two 3-pointers each from Schuessler and Onago in the first quarter, didn’t hit another one the rest of the game.
And by the time Kiefer Zabel scored his lone basket of the game in the final minute of the first half, Clear Creek had gone from a five-point lead to start the stanza to down by 13.
“After that second quarter when we went cold, I think we really needed to start attacking and we didn’t,” Schuessler said. “… We’re a great shooting team and that’s a good mentality to have, but when you have two points in a quarter you need to go back to the basics. You need to go to the foul line and get buckets. After we didn’t score for an entire quarter, we have to start scrambling. We have to start putting pressure on and make easy baskets.”
By the time the Golddiggers did, it was too late. They never got closer than 10 points in the second half.
Ben Buhler added 15 points and Xander Neu tallied 12 for Denver Christian, which stretched its winning streak to five games over Clear Creek.