CENTENNIAL — Jeff Wennberg’s return to Arapahoe, where he coached for one season, looked like a disaster in the making Friday night.
Facing a one-loss Warriors team on their home floor, the Rebels had 6-foot-8 senior Connor Osborne on the bench with two fouls less than two minutes in. To make matters worse, Garrett Hurlbut picked up his third foul with one minute left in the first quarter.
But the wheels didn’t come off at Sitting Eagle Gymnasium.
Strong defense limited Arapahoe’s starters to just six points in the first half, an output surpassed by Columbine substitutes Matt Huntington, Mike Tanner and Nick Isenburg.
“It was tough for me and Garrett to sit out the first half,” Osborne said. “But we still have a real young team and I think a lot of young guys stepped up.”
But the tenacious-D lacked a scoring punch and an 11-0 third-quarter run by the Warriors was the breaking point in a 50-41 nonleague loss.
Hurlbut would foul out with no points and two rebounds with 1:36 remaining in the third quarter, while Osborne returned to score 16 of his game-high 20 points after halftime.
Osborne, who shot 9-for-11 from the floor, grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots while guard Beau Smith added six points and Tanner scored five.
The Warriors, a team with players and coaches very familiar to Wennberg, improved to 10-1.
“I did want it a lot, but for me, I just want to see my guys improving,” Wennberg said. “I know that sounds cheesy, but that’s actually the truth.”
Wennberg marked improvement by the fact the Rebels played Arapahoe close the entire game a season after losing 67-27 at home to the Warriors.
Columbine led 7-1 in the first quarter Friday before the Warriors knotted the score at 15 and took a 19-17 lead into halftime.
With the score tied 21-21 early in the third, Arapahoe shut out the Rebels for four minutes and took a 32-21 lead on a 3-pointer from senior Jack Sadowy. Sadowy would lead the Warriors with 13 points and Kevin Wallace added 11 off the bench.
The Rebels cut the deficit to 43-37 on Tanner’s free throws with two minutes remaining but couldn’t close the gap further.
Columbine committed 24 turnovers compared to 16 by the Warriors.
Columbine: Varney 2 0-0 4, Smith 3 0-1 6, Trader 0 0-0 0, Hurlbut 0 0-0 0, Osborne 9 2-2 20, Isenburg 1 0-0 2, Tanner 1 2-2 5, Myer 0 0-0 0, Huntington 2 0-0 4. Totals: 18 4-5 41.
Arapahoe: Kalkman 4 0-0 8, Mackey 0 0-1 0, Sadowy 3 5-8 13, Hahl 1 0-0 2, Babb 2 4-6 8, Wallace 4 2-4 11, Bullock 0 0-0 0, Snyder 1 0-0 2, Anderson 3 0-0 6. Totals: 18 11-19 50.
3-point goals: Tanner; Sadowy 2, Wallace.
Huskies top Rebels
Somewhere around 24-24, things were in control for Columbine on Saturday.
The Rebels were scoring points inside and outside against Douglas County and had plenty of energy on the defensive end.
But then the visiting Huskies went on a run fueled by good defense, quick ball rotation and dead-eye 3-point shooting to win running away 75-61.
Douglas County closed out the first half on a 13-5 run, pushed its lead to 13 points late in the third quarter and was up 66-46 with 3:44 remaining to hand the Rebels (2-6) their second straight defeat since the winter break.
Junior guard Beau Smith scored 25 points with a fantastic effort for the Rebels while Garrett Hurlbut and Connor Osborne added 14 apiece. Osborne also blocked six shots and grabbed 12 rebounds.
But several other numbers painted a bigger picture:
Columbine turned the ball over 25 times compared to just 13 by the Huskies.
Douglas County knocked down 10 3-pointers – many of them wide-open looks – compared to just five by the Rebels.
The Rebels got just four points off the bench compared to 16 by the Huskies, who improved to 7-2.