The Columbine Rebels knew that they had a lot on the line. A win against Chaparral meant that they would be the undefeated winner of the Columbine Classic. A loss meant that they would be in a three-way tie for first place.
And by the end of the last game in the series — Columbine vs. Chaparral — the game clocked ran painstakingly slow. With 2 minutes, 23 seconds left in the game, the score was tied 48-48.
Some speculated the game might run into overtime. The coaches probably would have been happy with that, but the athletes on the court weren’t content to just wait it out. They wanted their answer, and they wanted it before the buzzer.
Columbine was coming off wins over Heritage (67-52) and Valor Christian (85-73), while Chaparral also scored wins over Valor (72-68) and Heritage (72-53).
As the Columbine student section waved cardboard head shots of their seniors the Rebels fought to maintain possession of the ball and not give up any fouls. Then it happened, Columbine senior Jon Snow scored with about a minute left. It was just the ticket Columbine needed for a 51-48 victory — the Rebels’ fourth straight win.
All Columbine (5-1) had to do to win the tournament was not let Chaparral get ahold of the ball, especially Chaparral junior Brandon Malone.
“You can’t really play too close to (Malone) because he’ll blow right by ya,” Chaparral head coach Rob Johnson said.
Malone, who scored 14 points, dominated the tempo of the game whenever Chaparral (3-5) had the ball. The ball in his hands would have big consequences for Columbine. So Columbine did what any smart team in that situation would do — it waited out the clock and played keep-away from Malone.
As the seconds ticked by, the Wolverines fought to gain a shot at the ball, knowing that all they needed to enter overtime was one basket. Chaparral junior Zach Carter attempted a shot but missed.
Chaparral got the ball back with 10 seconds left with the key to Columbine’s undoing — Malone — having possession of the ball. As he set up to hit a 3-pointer, everyone held their breath. The shot bounced off the rim.
Snow was fouled and hit 1-of-2 free throws for the game’s final score. The Columbine senior finished with a game-high 25 points. Ty McMinimee added 12 points, while Garrett Hyde scored 10.
“I am proud of them. I thought we played very well against Valor. They made a run in the fourth quarter and our kids lost their composure, but they got it back. Then Chaparral made a good run,” Columbine head coach Clay Theilking said.
Sophomore Chris Moody led Chaparral with 18 points. Wil Keyser added 10.