DENVER — It’s not so much about this year for the Front Range Christian Falcons — though they haven’t played poorly, by any means. It’s about developing for the future. Games against third-ranked Lutheran and its trapping 1-3-1 zone defense are good proving grounds for that.
“We want the kids to face adversity, to stare it down and fight through it. This will make them stronger,” said Front Range Christian head coach Brad Folk. “We want to be in an attack mentality.”
That’s true even when shooting 2-of-13 in the first quarter of what turned out to be a 61-32 loss in the semifinals of the 2A District 4 tournament on Feb. 27 at Hutchison Field House at Mullen High School. The top-seeded Lions never trailed, eventually building a 34-point lead late in the fourth quarter.
“We were getting the shots. We weren’t being tentative at all, I don’t think. We were trying to be assertive. The shots just weren’t going in. It was frustrating,” said the Falcons’ Elijah Bervik, who scored a team-high 12 points. Boomer Bate added 10.
In the teams’ first meeting — a 79-35 loss 12 days earlier — the Falcons were afraid to take their shots, Folk said. This time, Front Range Christian played a lot looser, Folk said, but, make no doubt about it, Lutheran is the better team.
Reilly Carew led three players in double figures for Lutheran (15-6) with 21 points. James Willis added 11 — all in the first half — and Josh Murphy scored 10 for the Lions, who won their sixth straight before defeating Denver Christian 68-45 in the championship game two days later.
Front Range Christian (14-8), which qualified for regionals two days before with a first-round win over Byers, lost for the fourth time in six games. And though the Falcons faced an uphill challenge in Lutheran, the game was all about improving, Folk said.
“I think our approach is to continue to get better. We’re pushing hard to become the best that we possibly can. We feel that whatever our talents are, we need to bring those out as much as possible,” Folk said.
Two days later, Front Range Christian lost the third-place game to Limon 48-46. The Falcons will play in the 2A Region 8 tournament beginning March 7 against Simla (20-2). The winner will meet either Denver Christian or Center for the regional title the next day.