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LITTLETON — Columbine High School’s boys basketball team broke open a close game in the third quarter and beat Prairie View 84-75 in the first round of the state boys basketball tournament Feb. 23 in Littleton.
Tyson Roberts led PVHS with 30 points. Dominic Marrujo scored 29, and Rashawn-Salinas Johnston had 17. Tyler Casey led the Rebels with 23 points. Ty Afraimi scored 18, Wesley Jones contributed a dozen, and Levi O’Brien scored 11.
The Rebels doubled their six-point halftime lead in the third quarter. CHS made six of nine from 3-point land and scored 29 points in the period. PVHS cut a 20-point deficit to four with a minute to play. But Columbine made seven of eight free throws in the last minute to pick up the win.
“We prepared for two of their shooters, No. 11 (Casey) and No. 13 (Afraimi),” PVHS coach Damen Romero said. “All the film we watched, I didn’t see them shoot like that. Our defense? We could have pressed up a little bit more. It went against our game plan of protecting the paint. But overall, I’m proud of my guys. We didn’t give up, we continued to battle. We showed the perseverance we built all year.”
At one point, Prairie View had a seven-point lead. But the Rebels closed out the half by scoring 16 of 19 points.
“Other than contesting a little harder and a little higher on the shot, overall, I’m proud of my guys. Hats off to Columbine. They played a helluva game,” Romero said. “The whistle didn’t go in our favor a little bit. But the referees don’t miss free throws. They don’t miss layups. They don’t forget to box out. It’s the perseverance my guys showed.”
“I liked how they stood together,” Romero said. “We preach that you can’t take a guy out with one finger. It takes five fingers to do some damage. We stood together like a fist.”
Columbine moved into the second round to face Douglas County. PVHS ended the season with a mark of 15-9. PVHS loses five seniors to graduation.
“We have some talented younger classmen,” Romero said. “Our freshman team finished 10-7 this year. I bring back four rotational players, one sophomore and one junior started the majority of this year, Our point guard is going to be one to watch next year.”