The high school basketball season tipped off Dec. 2, when schools were allowed to play their first games.
Cherry Creek boys coach Kent Dertinger will have to wait a little longer to see how this season’s team will come together.
The Bruins opened the season Dec. 5-7 with games against Grand Junction Central, Fruita Monument and Grand Junction in the Warrior Challenge.
However, five basketball players missed the tournament because they played for the victorious Bruins in the state championship football game on Dec. 7 against Columbine.
Quarterback Julian Hammond III, defensive back and kick returner Myles Purchase, tight end Gunnar Helm and defensive ends Arden Walker and Delonte Dickey also play basketball.
Hammond, whose grandfather was former ABA Denver Rockets player Julian Hammond, and Purchase led the team last season as sophomores in scoring with 20.5 and 13.0 point-per-game averages.
“Myles and Julian are always handling the basketball even during the football season,” Dertinger said. “It will take them some time to get their basketball legs and wind but we will ease them in.
“I expect that they will play Dec. 12 at Boulder for us, but I will have to manage their time.”
Dertinger pointed out there will be two Hammonds playing this season.
“Interesting side note is Julian’s little brother Christian is a ninth-grader and made the trip to Grand Junction, and he certainly helped us at the varsity level,” the coach said.
Colorado state 5A cross country champions Cole Sprout, a senior at Valor Christian, and Riley Stewart, a sophomore who goes to Cherry Creek, won individual titles at the NXR Southwest Regionals Nov. 23 in Casa Grande, Arizona.
The top five finishers plus the top two teams qualified for the 16th annual Nike Cross Nationals, which were scheduled to be held Dec. 7 in Portland, Oregon.
Sprout won the regional event with a time of 14:41.4. Stewart captured the women’s 5,000 meter regional title with a time of 17:03.8.
Stewart didn’t rest as she ran in the Foot Locker Midwest on a muddy course in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Nov. 29, finished seventh and qualified for the Foot Locker Nationals, which will be held Dec. 14 in San Diego. Parker Wolfe, a junior at Cherry Creek, also advanced to the Foot Locker nationals with a 15:59 time in the Kenosha meet.
A team of girls from Valor Christian surprised the field of top 25 teams in the country and finished second to qualify to compete along with 22 other teams for the national title in the Nike Cross Nationals.
The individuals on the Valor girls team who competed in the national meet were Lanie Szuch, Taylor Whitfield, Isabella Prosceno, Ashley Jones, Reese Dragovich and Bri Teegarden.
Vista Nation’s boys team was second in the Arizona regional to earn its ticket to compete for the national team championship.
Athletes on the Vista Nation boys team were Harrison Witt, Davis Helmerich, Jack O’Sullivan, Seth Rouse, Kyle Boe, Jayden Nats and Colin Mooney.
Each week, performances of south metro athletes and teams will be highlighted. This week’s performances were selected from games, matches and meets between Dec. 2 and Dec. 5.
Heritage used a big third quarter, outscoring rival Littleton 25-12, and went on to record a 64-55 boys basketball victory on Dec. 2. Senior Kai Bertram scored 26 points to lead Littleton.
Highlands Ranch overcame a seven-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter and posted a 70-64 boys basketball win over Smoky Hill on Dec. 3.
Senior Tim Brown and sophomore Jaeton Hackley each had 18 points as the Douglas County boys basketball team opened the season on Dec. 3 with a 71-48 triumph over Denver South.
Senior Heidi Haze had seven steals to go along with three rebounds and nine points in ThunderRidge’s 45-12 girls basketball conquest of Pueblo County on Dec. 4.
Senior Amy Holland scored 14 points to help Mountain Vista earn a 58-38 girls basketball win over Rampart on Dec. 4.
Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 303-566-4083.
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