4A #2 Lewis-Palmer Handles #1 Golden
The Lewis-Palmer Rangers rode into Golden High School Saturday night and handed the Golden Demons their first loss of the season in convincing fashion. Even though both teams were missing key players the Rangers were able to dominate nearly every phase of the game for three quarters. The Rangers struggled a bit in the fourth quarter with trying to contain Golden’s Adam Thistlewood. The Rangers however were able to keep the Demons at arms reach by knocking down free throws and hitting key layups against when the broke Golden’s press.
The first quarter was a little slow going at first with both teams trying to figure each other out. Thistlewood scored six of Golden eight points in the quarter but none of the other Golden guards could get a shot to fall. Thistlewood continued to get open looks but tried to get his teammates going first. Meanwhile, the Rangers were getting good looks at the basket and scoring in the paint. It was senior Salim Nehme that got the Rangers rolling after he hit a long three pointer mid way through the quarter. The Rangers took off after that and never trailed again in the game.
The Ranger defense took it to another level in the second quarter limiting the Demons to only seven points in the quarter. Five of which were scored by Thistlewood. The Rangers owned the boards and got every 50/50 ball. Golden looked bewildered most of the quarter. While Golden struggled the Rangers were rolling. Thanks in part junior guard Matthew Ragsdale. After a tip in at the end of the first quarter Ragsdale scorched the nets from deep twice and added a layup for good measure. Junior Joel Scott had a good game as well in the paint grabbing boards and making the tough put backs. The Rangers cruised to a 34-15 lead at halftime.
The third quarter was brutal for both teams. Golden’s scoring woes continued against the tough Ranger defense and to make matters worse Thistelwood picked up three fouls in the first 2 minutes of the quarter and had to go to the bench for the rest of the quarter with a total of four fouls. Scott was excellent in the quarter getting Thistlewood into foul trouble and converting at the free throw line going 6 of 6 from the stripe. He also added another bucket in lane as he scored eight of Lewis-Palmers eleven points in the quarter.
The other Rangers struggled at bit at the free throw line and from the field. Thanks in part to the effort from Golden’s Joe Madsen on defense, which kept the other Demons from quitting on the defensive end. The Rangers failed to put further distance between themselves and the Demons maintaining a 20 point lead at the end of the quarter.
The intensity of the game changed quickly as Thistlewood started the fourth quarter hot and the Demons defense swarming. The Demons came out in a 1-3-1 defense which caused the Rangers to turn the ball over off of sloppy passes. The Demons would get the turnovers and then quickly find Thistlewood who would then find a way to score.
Deep threes, pull up jumpers, or post moves on the block Thistlewood couldn’t be stopped. He scored 23 of Golden 29 points in the quarter. At one point Thistlewood had single handily cut the Ranger lead to nine points with 4 minutes left in the game. However, the Rangers started to find the hole on teh back side of the Golden defense and converted a couple of easy lay ups to push the lead by to 15 points. The Rangers also shot it well (10/14) from the free throw line in teh final four minutes to keep the Demons from getting closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
It was a good test for two teams that fully expect to make deep runs in the playoffs.