GOLDEN — Fourth-quarter magic seems to be the winning formula for Green Mountain’s boys basketball team so far this season. After an opening season loss to Chatfield, the Rams stormed back …
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GOLDEN — Fourth-quarter magic seems to be the winning formula for Green Mountain’s boys basketball team so far this season.
After an opening season loss to Chatfield, the Rams stormed back against area-rival Lakewood with a 32-point fourth quarter to pull out a 68-64 before jumping into Class 4A Jeffco League play.
“We practice hard late in our practices,” Green Mountain junior Corbin Jantzer said after the Rams rallied to a 63-50 road victory Feb. 3 over Golden. “We talk about the fourth quarter a lot. It’s a big priority.”
The Rams trailed rival Golden 40-39 heading to the fourth quarter. It seemed the Demons — No. 4 in the CHSAANow.com Class 4A boys basketball rankings — were primed to extend its lead and take control of the 4A Jeffco League game. However, Green Mountain had other plans.
With no cheering student sections on either side, the Rams (4-1, 3-0 in league) went on a 24-10 run in the fourth quarter to grab a huge conference win over the defending 4A Jeffco League champs.
Jantzer poured in 11 of his team-high 19 points in the final eight minutes. His 3-pointer from the top of the key with 2:45 left in the fourth quarter gave the Rams a 53-45 lead.
“He (Jantzer) is tough and we coach him hard,” Green Mountain coach Mike Puccio said. “He is a super-talented kid. He hasn’t had a great start offensively, but his rebounding and defense he is one of the best in the league. He is so versatile.”
Green Mountain’s leading scorer Austin Peterson had a fairly quiet 8-point night offensively, but the Rams got plenty of contributors. Senior Blake McKibbin had 14 points off the bench and senior Allen Ortiz poured in 9 points.
“I’ve got faith in every one of our guys being able to go out there and score,” Jantzer said. “Anybody can drop 15 points.”
The Rams made six free-throws in the final minute to ice the victory and remain undefeated early in conference play with Wheat Ridge (4-1, 3-0) and Evergreen (3-1, 2-0).
“This is a huge win. This was a preview to a playoff match-up,” Jantzer said. “It’s a huge rivalry in the league. Coming into this game we took it as a game for the league championship. We’ve got to get past Golden. We thought we had to prove ourselves.”
Golden sophomore Aliou Diallo led the Demons (3-2, 1-2) with 20 points, but the guard suffered a lower leg injury to end the third quarter. He was on the bench being treated before returning to the court midway through the final quarter.
Junior Richie Pruett had 9 points in the second half before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Alan Acevedo pitched in 8 points, but was also limited in minutes because of foul trouble. A total of 47 fouls were call on the night.
“Golden is a three-headed monster (Pruett, Diallo and Acevedo) and also has some great role players,” Puccio said. “We just wanted to contain those three and make someone else beat us.”
Puccio admitted he really didn’t know what to expect this year after Green Mountain graduated 90 percent of his players from last year’s squad. A 23-point loss to open the season against Chatfield might have been a big sign, but the Rams have bounced back with 3 straight victories.
“I’m hard on these guys. We’ve got a shoot-around at 6:30 am tomorrow morning,” Puccio said. “We (coaches) are relentless on them. We don’t let up.”
Jantzer knows the job isn’t nearly complete for Green Mountain.
“We still have a lot to prove,” Jantzer said. “There are still a lot of teams up there. We are just going to continue to keep working.”
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage go to CHSAANow.com/Jeffco
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