ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Dakota Ridge boys pick up first league win

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By Justin Trujillo

The Dakota Ridge boys basketball team understands winning is not easy.

It would be fair to say that the season has been a struggle. With the team’s inconsistency all season long, the Eagles looked to turn their season around after winning only two of their last 10 games on Feb. 1 at home against Arvada.

Dakota Ridge came into the game unable to win at home; with only one win at home that came versus Denver North, and no wins in league. They faced an Arvada team who came in after winning a big game over Standley Lake.

Once the game tipped off, Dakota Ridge came out, played aggressive, and kept the tempo high all game. After a close first half, Dakota Ridge pulled away and ended their league drought and won 59-48.

The score after the first period had Dakota Ridge (1-4 Jeffco, 7-11 overall) down 11-5 but the energy was high and the team was adjusting to a different starting lineup. Senior Austin Meldrum was out for the game, so junior guard Moh Musleh led the Eagles attack. Musleh had 12 points in the game and the team had full confidence in play.

“Moh took care of the ball all game. We missed Austin but Moh handles things well and he produced for us,” said senior guard Andy McDonnell.

So with Meldrum's absence, the rest of the Eagles made up for his production. In the second period the Eagles out scored the Reds 17-10 and took the half time lead of 22-21. Forward Cameron Pritchett, who finished the game with 13 points, led the charge in the second period.

“It was a good win. It was nice to get over the hump. Hopefully this will get us on the right track for the rest of the season,” said Pritchett.

The second half was all Eagles as Dakota Ridge outscored Arvada (1-4, 12-7) 14-9 in the third quarter and 23-18 in the fourth. McDonnell had a strong second half and led all scorers with 16.

Arvada had a good effort from Steve Fritchell who finished the game with 10 points but the stat the hurt the Reds was the 14-of-29 for free throws. Dakota was 22-of-29.

“We did things we haven’t done in earlier games. We got to the free throw line, took care of the ball and broke pressure,” said McDonnell.

Dakota Ridge played a solid game and accomplished everything needed to secure a big home win. Not only did they win their first league game but also they start to get momentum for the rest of the season; and for rival Columbine Feb. 8.

But coming off a big win, coach Jeff Parriott described the team mood the best.

“The win has been a long time coming," Parriott said. "We did things in the second half that gave us the chance to win. It was nice to get over the struggles.”