MEAD – The Frederick High School boys basketball team is returning to the final four for the first time since 1956.
The icing on the top for the No. 6-rated Warriors is some sweet revenge by upsetting defending state champion Mead 66-56 March 5 to seal their spot in the semifinals.
With the victory, Frederick will face No. 2 Pueblo South Friday, March 11, at Denver Coliseum. Tip time is 4 p.m.
Leading the way for the Warriors was their trio of seniors – Jacoby Conway, Alex Sturn and Bryce Conover — who hadn’t won a playoff game before this season.
“They’ve been huge for us this year,” Frederick coach Jeff Conway said. “They have been leaders on and off the floor.”
Sturn has been practically unstoppable in the post for FHS in the playoffs. He scored eight of his 17 points in the third quarter against Mead and is averaging a team-high 18 points in the playoffs. His energy on defense has been unmatched.
“Alex has been tremendous,” Coach Conway said. “He draws charges, plays hard and always makes the right play.”
Frederick was familiar with Mead. The Mavericks topped the Warriors 62-53 earlier this season at the NCAC/Longs Peak League tournament and did it due their dangerous shooters. The Mavericks hit eight, 3-pointers in the contest. But Saturday, the Warriors only allowed Mead one basket from behind the arc.
Frederick, on the other hand, caught fire early. Luke Justice and Harry Singh each hit a trey to give the Warriors a 15-11 advantage after the first.
Sturn and Conover then hit from distance in the second quarter to push the lead to 23-15. Conover added another 3-pointer to push Frederick’s lead to 30-21 at halftime.
Sturn took the game over in the third scoring in a variety of ways as Frederick took an 11-point advantage going into the fourth.
The Mavericks went on a seven-point run to cut the lead to six with three minutes to go, but Justice and Conover answered with back-to-back baskets to seal the victory.
Justice led Frederick with 20 points, while Conover added 14.
Pueblo South poses another tough matchup, carrying a perfect 26-0 record into the matchup. The Colts made the final four last season and are led by the dynamic duo of Maurice and Tarrance Austin, both of whom are in the top 20 in the state in scoring. The winner will play either Lewis Palmer or Pueblo Central in the championship game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at the Coliseum.
FREDERICK 67, D’EVELYN 65
FREDERICK – Jacoby Conway scored a reverse layup at the buzzer Wednesday night to help the Warriors advance to the quarterfinals and defeat No. 11 D’Evelyn.
“We’ve run that play before,” Coach Conway said. “Alex set a great screen, and Jacoby went baseline hit a big shot. They didn’t want it to end (Wednesday).”
After the basket the Frederick fans stormed the court to celebrate the victory, which was fitting due to the electrifying energy they provided all game. Their chants shook the gymnasium and brought energy to an already competitive game.
Frederick got an early advantage, ending the first quarter on an 11-point run that was capped by a 3-pointer by Justice. He let the D’Evelyn fans know it as he went down the floor.,
Sturn took advantage in the post with eight points in the second to give the Warriors a 34-28 advantage at the half.
The Jaguars came storming back in the second half, forcing Frederick into uncharacteristic errors and attacking the glass. D’Evelyn had a lead late in the third quarter, but Harry Singh scored on a fast break to tie the game at 50.
Sturn scored 18 to lead the way, while Conover added 14 and Justice chipped in 10.