LAKEWOOD — It was the way every basketball team would like to close out a quarter.
Green Mountain senior Corbin Jantzer put down a thunderous dunk, followed by fellow senior Cooper Francy’s steal and getting off a layup just before the buzzer Jan. 24 on the Rams’ home court.
“That is exactly what you dream about,” Francy said of how the Rams finished out the first quarter with a 27-5 lead against Wheat Ridge in the Class 4A Jeffco League game. “It was perfect stretch of plays. It was fun.”
The Rams — No. 7 in the CHSAANow.com 4A boys basketball rankings — cruised to an impressive 78-27 victory against the Farmers. Green Mountain wasn’t going to take Wheat Ridge lightly with the Rams in position to win a conference title.
The Farmers (4-10, 3-6 in 4A Jeffco) were on a 2-game winning streak after a rough 1-8 start to the season. Green Mountain (12-2, 7-1) made sure it didn’t have a slip up nearing the midway of league play.
“The effort was great. They were dialed in,” Green Mountain coach Mike Puccio said. “We are good when we are rolling on all cylinders. We have to find a way to get to that point every game.”
Francy took charge in the first quarter pouring in 11 points in the opening eight minutes. He then started off the second half right where the Rams had left off. Francy drained a 3-pointer from the corner in the opening seconds of the third quarter to give Green Mountain a commanding 50-11 lead.
“Cooper is arguably Player of the Year in Jeffco. He is a dog,” Puccio said of Francy who had a game-high 16 points despite not playing in the fourth quarter along with the rest of the Rams’ starters. “I’ve said that all along. He is a warrior. Credit to him for all the hard work over the years. He is not a guy who was projected to be where he is at as a freshman.”
The Rams clearly wasn’t taking the Farmers’ lightly. Wheat Ridge grabbed an early 2-0 lead on Green Mountain with a basket from senior Devon Zurcher. Green Mountain went on an 18-0 run to quickly dash any shot of an upset by the Farmers, who are always a dangerous team led by longtime Farmers’ coach Tommy Dowd.
“They are going to play hard,” Puccio said about Wheat Ridge. “They beat Standley Lake and Standley Lake beat Golden. We kind of used that for motivation over the weekend. Tommy’s teams are always prepared. You can’t let them hang around.”
Jantzer had a monster game with 11 points and 15 rebounds in three quarters played. Senior Luke Davis also finished in double-digit points with 11. Junior Jon Lord (12 points) and sophomore Chris Scott (12 points) led the bench surge by the Rams to close out the game.
Wheat Ridge sophomore Estevan Montoya had a trio of 3-pointers for the Farmers in the loss. Freshman Isaac McCune had a nice fourth quarter with 10 points.
Green Mountain got some help to take sole position of first place in 4A Jeffco last week. D’Evelyn (12-4, 8-2) suffered a 1-point road loss to Evergreen (9-8, 6-4). Golden (9-6, 5-3) also took a road loss at Littleton (7-8, 5-4).
Green Mountain is in the driver’s seat for the league title with eight conference games remaining over the next three weeks.
“We are watching. We know what is going on,” Francy said of the league results. “We just had to get this win.”
The Rams have won 8-of-9 games with a home loss to Golden as the lone blemish.
“I like how much room for growth we still have,” Puccio said. “Honestly, we haven’t played a complete game all year. That’s a good thing. We’ve got to be ready by February.”
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.