It might not have been the best season on record, but for the Dakota Ridge boys basketball team, it was a great season regardless of its record..
So while the team Eagles had an outsider’s chance of making the Class 5A state tournament entering the Feb. 22 regular season home finale against Wheat Ridge, the team still planned to play hard.
It was senior night for the Eagles and seniors Austin Meldrum, Mark Kelly, Eric Cain, Andy McDonnell, Patrick Lippiatt and Justin Dunn prepared for their last home game of the season and potentially their last high school basketball game ever.
Although the bounce of the ball and the score didn’t end up favoring the Eagles, it was a hard played game and both teams played with high energy.
The final score shows the Farmers winning by 10 in the 60-50 final score, but the game was a lot closer than the double-digit win for Wheat Ridge. Wheat Ridge opened the game with a 7-0 run in the first two minutes and it not only silenced the very vocal Dakota Ridge cheering section, but it set the pace for the game.
Throughout the game both teams would go on several streaks but Wheat Ridge was able to go on four separate runs of six points or better.
“We gave it our all and it didn’t work out. It was a rough year and I was proud of how our team battled. All and all it was a good season,” Kelly said.
Dunn was able to put the first Eagles points on the board, and continued to score, reaching his season-best total of 19.
“I wanted to go all out. Could be my last game of the season. It was a fun season. Our coaches and our team was great. I just wanted to give it all I got,” Dunn said.
But it was that first period which dictated the entire game for Dakota Ridge, where the Farmers outscored the Eagles 18-8.
During the back and forth action from both teams, Wheat Ridge players Ryan Routzon scored a team-high 25 points and Wayne Wallace was right behind him with 21 points.
With their size advantage, the Farmers took advantage of several second chance opportunities and cashed in on those.
Dakota Ridge was able to attack the glass and with unselfish passing by the entire team, successfully kept the game close. Cameron Pritchett finished with 14 points for the Eagles.
Several times in the fourth quarter the Eagles were able to get within five points, but could not get closer than that.