Josh Perkins lived up to the hype. The Regis Jesuit junior, as evidence of the attention he has gained, which included scouts from the University of Colorado and Kansas University in attendance — one being CU head coach Tad Boyle — put on quite the show.
With a red sleeve covering his left arm, the Raiders sharp-shooter was all flash in scoring a game-high 39 points. But Columbine’s Jon Snow matched him almost point for point, scoring a career-best 37 points.
And what Snow had that Perkins didn’t quite was a little more help from his teammates as the Rebels upset Regis Jesuit, The Denver Post’s fourth-ranked team in the preseason media poll, 81-77 on the opening night of the season Nov. 28 at Columbine High School.
“We knew it would be a great test, a great challenge. The kids know about the success those guys have had and they were excited for the opportunity to compete against them,” Columbine head coach Clay Thielking said. “They did well. We made a lot of mistakes, but our kids fought their hearts out.”
Snow, who also pulled down 11 rebounds, had 18 of his points by halftime and was 9-for-9 from the free-throw line. But the senior post player deferred the credit away from him and placed it more on the way his team played as a whole.
“It is a career high, but in the end it’s a team effort. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates making great passes,” Snow said. “We had (Jack) Stebbins, (Brad) Crowther, (and) Ty (McMinimee) taking attention away from me. That’s how we are going to win is by playing as a team.”
Garrett Hyde and McMinimee scored 16 points each, including five 3-pointers from McMinimee. His fourth 3-pointer, which opened the second half, gave the Rebels their largest lead at 45-34.
“Early they were just leaving me open. My teammates were getting me the ball, and I was hitting the shots,” McMinimee said. “I got to credit my teammates for that one.”
Crowther added eight points for the Rebels, who were 21-5 a year ago which included a trip to the Great Eight. But key cogs from that team Nick Carpinello, Chris Huth, Josh Daly and Alex Koop all graduated. So having Hyde and McMinimee also score career-highs was key.
“That’s huge. The seniors are stepping into bigger roles. They’ve got big shoes to fill from the guys we lost from last year,” Thielking said. “They didn’t play perfect tonight, but I thought they competed for 32 minutes. That’s all were asking them to do.”
Regis Jesuit rallied to force six lead changes between the third and fourth quarter before Columbine took the lead for good on a Snow 3-pointer with 3 minutes, 25 seconds remaining.
The Raiders, who were 20-4 a season ago but were upset by Poudre in the second round of the 5A state playoffs, pulled to within a point four times over the final three-plus minutes but couldn’t recapture the lead. The final time came after a Bryan Staerkel layup with 8.7 seconds left cut the score to 78-77. But Hyde hit another free throw and Snow, after Staerkel, who finished with 15 points, lost the ball out of bounds, made a game-ending layup.