ARVADA — Ralston Valley’s boys basketball team dominated the annual tournament — Ralston Roundup Classic — it has hosted for years.
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
The Mustangs (5-1 record) grabbed double-digit victories over Douglas County, Cherry Creek and Legacy over the three-day tournament last week.
It might seem early for revenge games, but Ralston Valley atoned Dec. 6 for its season-opening loss.
Douglas County edged the Mustangs 51-50 in the opening round of the Mountain Vista/Rock Canyon Tournament on Nov. 30. Less than a week later it was a different story with Ralston Valley rolling to an 82-64 victory.
“We were a different team last week,” Ralston Valley coach Chris Braketa said after the 18-point victory during the first night of the Ralston Roundup. “The big thing was to get our football guys healthy coming off their great season. We didn’t even allow them to play last Wednesday. They are slowly working their way in. They definitely bring a different part of the game that helps us tremendously.”
Ralston Valley — No. 8 in last week’s CHSAANow.com Class 6A rankings — didn’t have a handful of football players in the first go-around against the Huskies (3-3). The Mustangs had just finished up the football season with an overtime loss to Valor Christian in the state semifinals Nov. 26.
“I think we have a good combination of skill set and athleticism with the football guys,” Coach Braketa said. “They have a good skill set too.”
Junior Jackson Hansen was one of those football players who were back on the court and made a huge difference. Hansen poured in a dozen points in the first quarter against Douglas County to help give the Mustangs an early 24-11 lead after the first eight minutes.
“Getting the ball back in my hands its different with a circular ball,” said the 5A Jeffco League first-team receiver who had 778 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns during the season on the gridiron. “It feels better and my teammates found me open tonight.”
Hansen admitted getting his conditioning back for basketball has been the toughest, but his shot looked to be in mid-season form with 21 points, including three 3-pointers.
“He (Hansen) is such a competitor in whatever he does,” Coach Braketa said of the Mustangs’ starting point guard. “He makes us go. Without him we are a different team. He is the catalyst of our defense.”
Football players — Logan Madden, Jason Thome, George Patterson and James Wochner — combined for 18 points all off the bench for the Mustangs.
The reigning 5A Jeffco MVP is already averaging 24.5 points per game. Sophomore Tanner Braketa had a game-high 25 points against Douglas County. Tanner’s younger brother — freshman Caiden Braketa — was the third Mustang to hit double-digit points in the victory. Caiden poured in 10 points.
“It’s always good as a point-guard to see two brothers who can knockdown shots,” Hansen said of the Braketas. “Tonight scoring 82 points showed we can shoot it. Hopefully we’ll continue to do that.”
Caiden is averaging 8.5 points, 5 rebounds and 3.3 assists through four games.
“Caiden will help us shoot it,” Coach Braketa said of his freshman son. “His basketball IQ is really, really high. He does a lot of things that people might not notice, but it will effect the game.”
Ralston Valley’s annual tournament did go to a new format this year. Instead of an 8-team bracketed tournament this season it will be a 4-team round-robin format with Cherry Creek, Legacy, Douglas County and host Ralston Valley all facing each other during the three days (Dec. 6, 8 and 9).
Coach Braketa said they originally had eight teams, but two northern squads and a pair of Colorado Springs teams dropped out when they added more conference games in their respective leagues.
“We ended up with four good team,” Coach Braketa said of the new format. “I think it ended up pretty well.”
Dennis Pleuss is the sports information director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.