Ralston Valley boys hoops off to a strong start

By Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 12/17/18

ARVADA — Ralston Valley boys basketball team is way ahead of where it was last season. The Mustangs grabbed their third victory of the season Dec. 11 with a dominating 62-29 victory over Standley …

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Ralston Valley boys hoops off to a strong start

Posted

ARVADA — Ralston Valley boys basketball team is way ahead of where it was last season.

The Mustangs grabbed their third victory of the season Dec. 11 with a dominating 62-29 victory over Standley Lake in the opening round of the 11th annual Ralston Valley RoundUp Tournament.

“It feels just great,” Ralston Valley senior Jordan Stratch said after the Mustangs’ 33-point victory. “Last year when had some problems. We played really good this game in the home opener.”

The win matched Ralston Valley’s win total for the entire season last year when the Mustangs struggled to a 3-20 mark. The Mustangs (5-4 record) ended up winning their own tournament for the first time since 2013 with double-digit victories over Rampart and Pomona.

“It is kind of nice isn’t it,” second-year Ralston Valley head coach Chris Braketa said. “They are playing hard and doing some good things. We are trying to play quicker and get out in transition.”

Standley Lake senior Jared Spencer started off the game with a 3-point play in the opening seconds to give the Gators (2-4 record) a lead, but it was clear early that Stratch would be tough for Standley Lake to cover.

The Mustangs’ lone senior scored 11 straight points early in the first half to help Ralston Valley grab a 27-13 lead at halftime.

“I didn’t think anyone on that team could guard me,” Stratch said after tying his career-high 24 points in his third year playing varsity for the Mustangs. “I was feeling it tonight.”

Stretch broke his career-high in the tournament’s championship game Dec. 14 with 27 points against rival Pomona.

“He (Stratch) has a ton of potential. He can shoot, drive it and post up and is a good ball handler,” Braketa said. “He’s got the potential to be a great player.”

Juniors Walker Brickle (8 points), Luke Carlston (7 points) and Caden Gigstad (7 points) helped the Mustangs move into the semifinals of the Ralston Valley RoundUp Tournament.

“It is really important to win this (tournament),” Stratch said. “It will give us some confidence going into league.”

Standley Lake was led by senior Chris Bowerman in the loss. Bowerman drained three 3-pointers in the third quarter on his way to a team-high 11 points. It was actually the only three field goals the Gators had in the second half. Standley Lake was limited to seven made shots on the night.

Spencer and senior Brady Rose both finished with six points each for the Gators.

“We want to hang our hats on the defensive end so we can get in transition,” Braketa said. “We have to find a way to get easy buckets. We really still don’t shoot it well from the outside.”

Dennis Pleuss is a communications specialist for Jeffco Public Schools with a focus on athletics and activities. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com/Jeffco

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