FREDERICK — Skyline's Hunter Gutierrez has typically found other, more productive things to do on the day the high school basketball selection committee chooses the postseason brackets.
This year, however, one might find him and his Falcons teammates on Sunday all over social media — one hand navigating the phone, the other with crossed fingers.
The Falcons made their closing argument Friday night with a 52-45 victory at Frederick, a well-played rivalry game that saw SHS' inside presence neutralize the Warriors' eight 3-pointers. The victory put Skyline at 12-11 overall, 8-6 in the Tri-Valley League and onto the bubble for the Class 4A bracket.
"Coach (Tyler Cerveny) had us work hard, and he told us not to expect anything but to put in all our effort towards (playoff positioning) and let the cards fall where they do," Gutierrez said after posting 15 points and 14 rebounds on Friday. "We really listened to him, and we put our hearts into this game. It turned out good so far.
"It took everybody to get this one. Toughness and togetherness."
The Falcons put the heads down and bullied their way to a 7-3 mark over the final 10 regular season games, and that has Cerveny extremely optimistic in his first year leading the program. A 3-point loss to 18-1 Denver Science and Tech-Stapleton and a 5-point loss to a good Silver Creek squad also may help the Falcons' cause.
"I think 7-3 over the last 10 is better than anyone we're competing with to get in, and 8-6 in league is as good as anyone we're competing with to get in, so we do expect to be in on Sunday," Cerveny said. "These guys deserve it. They've battled all year and showed up when it mattered."
Gutierrez and Matt Dietz were tough for Frederick to stop in each of the two season meetings, and Friday's game saw that pair combine for 22 points and 23 rebounds. The Falcons out-rebounded Frederick 32-24 including a 9-5 edge in the fourth quarter, and that helped turn a 36-33 Warriors lead at the end of three frames into a seven-point win.
Skyline also had but eight turnovers for the game while Frederick posted 13.
Frederick's perimeter shooting was maddening. After hitting four of their first seven 3-point attempts, the Warriors (5-18, 3-11) managed to hit just two of the next 16 attempts stretching into the fourth frame.
But Matthew Plack, who had six treys for the game, hit two more 3's in the fourth quarter — one to make the score 48-45 with just 1 minute, 2 seconds left. The Warriors had a couple of good looks in that final minute, but four free throw makes from Nate Higgins sealed the victory.
"It's been awhile for Skyline to have a good record, and we're glad to be the ones to put it up," Gutierrez said.
Braden Blick had 13 points for Skyline, and Chelton LeBon had 12 points to add to Frederick's performance. Alec Bessler also had nine points and five rebounds for FHS, who bring back eight players off their varsity roster next season.
Skyline 52, Frederick 45
At Frederick HS
SKYLINE (12-11, 8-6)
Ekern 1 0-0 3, Higgins 1 4-4 6, Blick 5 1-3 13, Angstead 3 2-6 8, Gutierrez 7 1-4 15, Dietz 3 1-2 7. Totals 20 9-19 52.
FREDERICK (5-18, 3-11)
Plack 6 0-0 18, Elkins 0 0-0 0, LeBon 4 2-2 12, Chohon 2 0-0 4, Nichols 1 0-0 2, Washington 0 0-0 0, Campos 0 0-0 0, Rawson 0 0-0 0, Bessler 4 1-2 9. Totals 17 3-4 45.
Score by quarters:Skyline 12 15 6 19 — 52
3-point field goals — Skyline (3): Ekern, Blick 2; Frederick (8): Plack 6, LeBon 2.