Jackson Solem of Longmont Christian tries to get a shot up past a defender Friday during a 1A Region 2 playoff game at Metro State University.
Jackson Solem of Longmont Christian tries to get a shot up past a defender Friday during a 1A Region 2 playoff game at Metro State University. (Brad Cochi / BoCoPreps.com)

DENVER — The way the Longmont Christian boys stormed into Saturday regional semifinal, it was clear that nothing was going to keep the Warriors from an opportunity to play for a 1A state tournament berth.

Riding an explosive first half, the No. 4-seed Warriors made short work of No. 9 Arickaree/Woodlin with a 77-44 win at Metro State University on Friday. The win set up a matchup against No. 3 Flagler in the Region 2 title game on Saturday.

If the Warriors win their next game, it would be the first time the boys program has reached the state tournament in nearly 20 years of athletics at Longmont Christian.

"The boys executed the game plan in the first half, without a doubt," Warriors head coach Myron Huey said. "We have a chance to do something that's never been done at our school. We've already won 19 games and I don't think we've ever done that either. But the next game is the most important game once again."

With school history nearly within reach, the Warriors (19-4) jumped out to a 24-14 lead over the Indians (8-12) after one quarter of play. Scoring 22 more points in the second quarter, they led 46-21 at halftime. Despite a lull in the third quarter, the Warriors pushed their lead out further in the fourth quarter to win by over 30 points.

Utilizing their size advantage effectively, Warriors senior post Jackson Solem (17 points) and freshman post Dominic Puchino (18 points) combined for nearly half of the team's points. Senior guard Luke Puchino scored 12 points, as did senior point guard Clayton Eldred, who is one of several players who boosted the Warriors' ranks this year when they transferred in following the closure of nearby Faith Baptist School in Longmont.

"We played well as a team and we pushed the pace, which is what we need to do," Eldred said. "I was at Faith last year so I've known this team forever. They had a good team last year and getting us from Faith just boosted the team even more. They've accepted us Faith guys and we've loved it."

The Warriors will face No. 3 Flagler (17-4) in the Region 2 championship game at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Coach Huey and several of the players made it clear that their focus will be on not having another quarter like Friday's third, during which the Warriors were outscored 18-9 primarily as a result of their own sloppy play.

"If we play four quarters the way we played in the first half tonight, we'll beat them," Dominic Puchino said. "If we play like we did in the third quarter, we'll go home."

Brad Cochi: cochib@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BradCochi

Longmont Christian 77, Arickaree/Woodlin 44

At Metro State University

ARICKAREE/WOODLIN (8-12)

Ruiz 1 0-0 3, Ramirez 2 2-4 7, D. Wagner 3 2-7 8, J. Wagner 0 0-0 0, McCracken 0 0-0 0, Dutton 0 0-0 0, McCaffrey 0 0-2 0, M. Ramos 4 0-0 10, A. Ramos 3 1-4 7, Ridnik 0 0-0 0, Miller 3 0-0 6, Myers 1 1-10 3. Totals 17 6-27 44.

LONGMONT CHRISTIAN (18-4)

D. Puchino 4 9-10 18, Solem 6 5-7 17, Shellenberger 0 1-2 1, Jauregui 3 0-0 6, C. Eldred 5 2-3 12, Shaefer 1 0-0 2, B. Azar 0 0-0 0, L. Puchino 3 4-6 12, T. Eldred 1 5-6 7, M. Azar 1 0-0 2, Hoogland 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 26-34 77.

Score by quarters:

Arickaree/Woodlin 14 7 18 5 — 44

Longmont Christian 24 22 9 22 — 77

3-point field goals — Arikaree/Woodlin (4): M. Ramos 2, Ruiz, Ramirez; Longmont Christian (3): L. Puchino 2, D. Puchino. Total fouls — Arikaree/Woodlin 26, Longmont Christian 19. Fouled out — A. Ramos, Myers.