HIGHLANDS RANCH - The Fairview boys basketball team was hoping for a quick start Wednesday, but instead it was Highlands Ranch that bolted out of the gate.
It was the beginning of the end of the Knights' season.
The 25th-seeded Falcons scored the first 11 points of the game and were never threatened after that, beating the 40th-seeded Knights 61-40 in the Class 5A basketball tournament.
Highlands Ranch advances to play No. 8 Smoky Hill while Fairview thinks about what could have been with a better start in the first-round game.
"That's happened to us a few times this year," senior Sam Grad said. "By the time we picked up the pace we were a little bit too far behind."
They also couldn't find a way to contain Falcons' senior Holten Sparling. Sparling hit shots all over the floor to finish with a game-high 32 points.
"We knew he could shoot it but he shot the 3 a little better than I expected," Fairview coach Patrick Burke said. "A couple of shots, I don't know if we could have defended it any better."
Stopping Sparling wasn't the only issue. Fairview (11-13) turned it over 14 times, five in the first quarter when it was outscored 17-4.
Highlands Ranch (12-12) turned those miscues into points while the defense harassed the Knights all night. Fairview made only one field goal in the first quarter and didn't hit its second until midway through the second period.
"We were a little shell shocked to start. We turned the ball over way too many times to start the game," Burke said. "Once we got comfortable we started to look like ourselves."
Highlands Ranch led by 16 when Trent Carson hit a 3-pointer, which started a 7-1 Fairview run to get the deficit to 26-15. But Sparling scored the last seven points of the half for the Falcons to give them a 36-19 lead at the break.
Fairview got the first bucket of the second half but turnovers helped Highlands Ranch go on a 16-3 run to put it away.
Highlands Ranch led by as many as 30 in the second half.
"At the half we weren't too worried in the locker room but defensively we didn't have it in the second half," Grad said.
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Highlands Ranch 61, Fairview 40
At Highlands Ranch
Grad 3 3-4 9, Carson 2 2-2 7, Monette1 5-6 7, Christianian 2 0-0 5, Dolan 1 1-2 4, Twist 2 0-0 4, Heisner 1 0-0 2, Lee 0 2-2 2. Totals 12 13-16 40.
Sparling 14 0-0 32, Spann 4 4-4 14, Mesfin 2 0-0 5, Sullivan 2 1-1 5, Hammond 1 2-3 4, Regidor 0 1-2 1. Totals 23 8-10 61.
Score by quarters:Fairview 4 15 10 11 — 40
Highlands Ranch 17 19 21 4 — 61
3-point field goals — Fairview (3): Carson, Christianian, Dolan; Highlands Ranch (7): Sparling 4, Spann 2, Mesfin. Total fouls — Fairview 11, Highlands Ranch 12. Fouled out — none.