DENVER — There may have not been a more frustrated person in the Denver Coliseum Friday evening than Pueblo South's Jeremy Cody, and he can thank Longmont sophomore Dallas Dye for his annoyance.
A 6-foot-7 senior, Cody is one of the best athletes in the state, not only a top basketball player but also a state champion in the high jump. And his presence was a big reason why many thought the Colts would be playing for the 4A hoops title Saturday afternoon.
But by the time Cody fouled out with just over three minutes remaining in Friday's semifinal, his irritation was evident and the 6-3 Dye had proven to be one of the big reasons why the Trojans are moving on to the championship game after posting a 71-60 victory.
Despite giving up four inches and two seasons of experience to Cody, Dye was undaunted and proved to be a huge factor as Longmont blew by Pueblo South in the second half. Dye scored all 10 of his points in the final two quarters while holding Cody scoreless over that same period. He also grabbed several key rebounds and was a force on the defensive end.
Dye was only credited with one blocked shot but he altered at least half-dozen more. And he never allowed Cody to find any kind of rhythm, taking away one of the Colts biggest weapons.
"(Cody's) a great player and I've got to give it to him," said Dye, who finished with five rebounds, an assist and a steal. "I just had to do my job and my brothers did their jobs. I boxed out and tried to rebound when I could. I got some buckets but it was just a good team win all around."
Dye couldn't have gotten off to a more auspicious start, as his had several open looks early only to see his shot roll off the rim. Cody, meanwhile, threw down a monster dunk early and then closed the half with another enormous slam that gave the Colts a 24-22 lead heading into the intermission.
But as has been the case all season, Longmont made the appropriate adjustments at halftime and the Trojans took control in the third and never looked back. Dye had six points in the frame as Longmont outscored Pueblo South 21-15.
"You have to tip your hat to Dallas," Trojans coach Jeff Kloster said. "We call him our young stallion because sometimes he gets a little bit out of control, but he gives us that edge. And he's fearless.
"He never was intimidated and he kept going and kept going. And all of a sudden he had the confidence. And the confidence became widespread throughout the team."
Luke Johnson, who led the Trojans with 22 points, said that Dye's play fired up the team.
"He was big," Johnson said. "We gave him the start because (Pueblo South) was a big team and we knew he could battle with them. He's a lot stronger than he looks.
"He looks a little skinny for a sophomore, but we're really proud of how he plays."
And while Dye has plenty of prep basketball ahead of him, he isn't ready for his sophomore season to end.
"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity," Dye said about playing for a state championship. "Just to play with my brothers one more game, keep them on the floor so I don't have to say goodbye to my seniors yet."
John Rosa: 303-473-1315, email@example.com