HIGHLANDS RANCH -- Wednesday night's game at Mountain Vista kind of encapsulated the entire season for the Fairview Knights basketball team.
At times Fairview looked really, really good. And at other times, the Knights struggled with the fundamentals of the game.
The end result was that 11th-seeded Fairview (9-15) bowed out of the first round of the Class 5A playoffs following a 64-54 loss to the 6th-seeded Golden Eagles (16-8) in the Jim Baggot Regional.
"It's been up and down and we've faced a lot of adversity this year," said Knights first-year coach Patrick Burke. "We did a lot of good stuff and guys got a lot better. But it just hurts. It hurst like hell at this point. We wish we were playing on Saturday."
There was times Wednesday night when Fairview played very well, moving the ball on offense to find an open shot, and clamping down on defense, blocking shots and forcing turnovers.
Those times weren't as frequent, however, as the stretches where the Knights struggled to move the ball up the court, continually turned it over when they did and had key players spending long amounts of time on the bench in foul trouble.
Frank Ryder, Fairview's 6-foot-9 senior who is going to play Division I college ball at San Diego University, opened the game with a blocked shot on the first possession, and then exchanged impressive offensive possessions with Mountain Vista's big man, 6-8 junior Jake Belknapp.
But Ryder picked up two fouls in just more than a half-quarter of play and had to go to the bench. His second foul came in the midst of a 12-2 run by the Golden Eagles, that saw Mountain Vista take a 17-6 lead into the second quarter.
That lead would stretch to as high as 16 points in the second, and Ryder picked up his third foul on a charge as the Golden Eagles threatened to blow the game wide open.
Heady play by Cole Heisner and Jaxson Whittle in the final couple of minutes of the half allowed the Knights to cut it to 28-19 at the intermission.
Every time Fairview would make a run, Mountain Vista would counter, however. And the Knights committed enough self-inflicted wounds to never allow them to put together a sustained run to really get back in the contest.
The most damaging came midway through the third as Fairview was building some momentum, and got a thunderous dunk from Ryder that cut the lead to 39-29. But Ryder stood over a fallen Mountain Vista player after the dunk and was hit with a technical foul.
The Golden Eagles hit the two technicals, and then closed out the quarter with a 8-1 run to essentially put the game away, although Fairview outscored them 24-17 in the fourth.
"We continued to battle," Burke said. "I'm really proud of the way we played. We've come a long way this year."
Ryder finished with 19 and Trent Carson added 10. Belknapp paced Mountain Vista with 19.
Mountain Vista 64, Fairview 54
At Mountain Vista
Heisner 4 0-0 8, Carson 4 1-2 10, Khadem 1 0-0 2, Weatherly 1 0-0 2, Grad 2 2-2 6, Whittle 2 0-0 5, Ryder 9 1-1 19, Tyse 1 0-2 2. Totals 24 4-7 54.
MOUNTAIN VISTA (16-8)
Essien 4 5-6 15, Boeyink 2 5-7 10, Sweeney 2 0-0 5, Belknapp 7 2-8 19, Staib 5 2-2 13, Baker 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 14-23 64..
Score by quarters:Fairview 6 13 11 24 — 54
Mountain Vista 17 11 19 17 — 64
3-point field goals — Fairview (2) Carson, Whittle; Mountain Vista (7) Belknapp 3, Essien 2, Boeyink, Staib. Fouled out — Carson. Technical fouls — Ryder.
Feel free to contact me with questions, suggestions or story ideas at 303-473-1315 or firstname.lastname@example.org