Overtime

Girls hoops games give insight into playoffs

Column by Jim Benton
Posted 2/19/19

The final week of the regular season for girls basketball teams offered a preview of coming attractions, since the state playoffs for girls begin Feb. 19 and 22 (after the press deadline) with first- …

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Overtime

Girls hoops games give insight into playoffs

Posted

The final week of the regular season for girls basketball teams offered a preview of coming attractions, since the state playoffs for girls begin Feb. 19 and 22 (after the press deadline) with first- and second-round games.

There were two key south metro girls games featuring the state’s top four teams that could provide a hint of what to expect in the playoffs.

Grandview, the third-ranked girls 5A team in the CHSAANow.com poll, traveled to fourth-ranked Cherry Creek in a Feb. 11 showdown with the outright Centennial League title up for grabs.

On Feb. 12, the No. 2 Regis Jesuit girls team played at top-ranked Highlands Ranch in a battle of teams unbeaten in the Continental League.

Girls games have been inundated with lopsided scores, since lower-echelon teams have trouble competing against the top teams. For instance, the average margin of victory for the four top four teams prior to their showdown games was 35.35, 35.4, 35.125 and 37.125.

Final scores in the two key matchups weren’t real close, but the games were competitive and the intensity was amplified.

Grandview, which edged Creek 54-53 earlier this season, led by 12 points in the first half but the Bruins, led by Jana Van Gytenbeek, stormed back in the third period to take a double-digit lead.

“We needed to play more disciplined,” said Creek coach Clint Evans, who declined to reveal what he really said during halftime. “We were giving them a lot of easy looks and not making things hard on them. We just wanted to give ourselves a chance. We always score in bunches and we thought if we could just stick around and wait for our bunch to come we could get back in the game.”

Van Gytenbeek finished with 33 points and hit a big three-point basket with 2:30 remaining in the game, which pushed the lead to six points. The 5-7 junior guard hit enough free throws in the final two minutes to hold on as the Bruins snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Wolves.

“It gives us the belief that we can be in some bad situations, come together and find ways to win,” said Evans. “Grandview is a great team and well coached. It’s going to give us confidence but we already had it.”

Playing in a gym packed with fans, Highlands Ranch jumped to a big lead and then slowed down to take time off the clock in the fourth quarter. The Falcons hit 17 of 19 free throws in the final period.

“We’ve been working on free throws all season,” said Ranch coach Caryn Jarocki. “I don’t like playing from behind against Regis because they do strategy things too. Carl (Regis coach Mattei) is smart. He’s not going to let you get back into the game either.

“A game like this helps us get ready because of the amount of pressure on these kids in this atmosphere can only help in the state tournament. We’re just building little steps on the way to the state championship.”

No push for instant replays in football

Nobody likes to see a game decided by a bad call, and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) tweaked Rule 1-3-7 and now allows — on a state-by-state basis — associations to create instant replay procedures for state postseason football contests only.

There are myriad issues that would have to be addressed, plus there doesn’t seem to be much interest from Colorado coaches or administrators who want to see instant replay in state high school postseason games.

So the CHSAA is waiting and isn’t in a hurry to adopt instant replay.

Tom Robinson, the CHSAA associate commissioner who oversees officiating, is a former college football referee and has worked as a replay official for the Mountain West and last season for the Big 12.

“We haven’t chosen to think about it because there really hasn’t been any push from our membership to do anything along those lines,” said Robinson. “A couple years ago we had some issues with a play at the goal line with Denver South and that is as close as we’ve come to needing somebody to look at it. I tell everybody I looked at that video and I couldn’t find anything I could hang my hat on.

“That’s the other piece of this, is you set these things up to solve problems, but in the end, many times you are not going to be able to do anything. We could do something if we had to but right now we are just going to wait until there becomes a big push.”

Goodbye to Irv Brown

Friends, colleagues, family and the public said their goodbyes to Irv Brown on Feb. 16. He died Feb. 3 of cancer at the age of 83.

There were two different services for the Colorado sports icon who was liked by one and all.

Brown was a coach, a basketball referee who called six NCAA Final Fours, a longtime radio and television personality and I am grateful to say he was a friend.

I first met Brown when he was coaching baseball at Arvada High School and I bothered him with all kinds of questions since I was just getting into coaching.

He was the head of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame selection committee old-timers committee, which nominated people who might have been overlooked. I was on that group and there weren’t many people that Brown didn’t know.

Brown always greeted me by asking how I was doing and would make a comment for anybody close around to hear about me being a baseball player at Lincoln High School.

He will be missed and always remembered.

Date and venue change

Dirt on the playing surface at Broncos Stadium at Mile High from a supercross/monster truck show will leave the field unplayable so the CHSAA had to move the boys 4A and 5A state lacrosse championship games to All City Stadium on May 20. The games were originally set for May 17.

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 jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.

Jim Benton

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