BOULDER — Sizzling second halves. The Broomfield boys basketball team has lived by them in the postseason. But Thursday, the Eagles’ title hopes died by one.
Broomfield fell 66-43 in the Class 4A Final Four when Sierra owned nearly every minute of the final two periods of play. But it was the opening possessions of the third period where the Stallions stampeded Broomfield out of the Coors Event Center.
A huge start to the half by Sierra’s biggest player was too much for the Eagles, with University of Colorado recruit Wesley Gordon’s punishing play in the post sealing his team’s win.
“He’s a great player,” Broomfield forward Dan Perse said. “We did our best to hang in on him. But with the other assets of their team scoring, too, it made it hard on us.”
Gordon put Broomfield (25-2) away, fueling a devastating scoring streak to open the third. Sierra (26-1) jumped to a 20-point lead, scoring 11 points before the Eagles made their first bucket of the second half.
Gordon found every crack in Broomfield’s defense, scoring seven of his game-high 19 points in the first 3 minutes of play.
It was not Gordon’s 6-foot-8 frame that gave him the advantage in ending the Eagles’ 22-game winning streak. The post put it on his ability to get the Eagles to bite on his moves.
“I was feeling their double team, so I was able to fake them a lot,” Gordon said. “I used my turn and got to the basket a lot by that.”
The win gives Sierra a shot at its third state championship in the past four years, with the Stallions facing rival Lewis-Palmer at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Coors Event Center. The game matches up a pair of CU’s in-state recruits in Gordon and the Lewis-Palmer’s 6-foot-9 center Josh Scott.
The Eagles’ troubles exploded in the third Thursday, but the team struggled early on in its first Final Four appearance in four years.
Gordon gave the team fits up the middle on defense, finishing the evening with eight of his team’s nine blocked shots. But it was the Stallions’ work on the perimeter that really threw a wrench in the Eagles’ offensive works.
Sierra iced Broomfield’s shooting from the start, holding the Eagles to 7-of-27 field goals in the opening 16 minutes of play. The sour beginning led the Eagles to one of its roughest offensive outings of the year, with the team finishing the game shooting 28.1 percent from the field.
It took until the fourth period for the Eagles to put any players into double digits. Nick Ongarato finished with 12 points and Perse with 10. Both hit 3s in the period to come up with their team-leading points.
“We started really tight, we weren’t moving the ball and cutting,” Broomfield coach Terrence Dunn said. “And it was the first time this year we allowed our offense dictate our defense.”
Deon Wilson was the first Stallion to take advantage of the Eagles’ shaky play. The point guard went 4-of-4 from the behind the arc in the first half, finishing the night with 18 points. But it was his second 3-pointer that spelled the early demise for the Eagles.
Wilson gave his team its final lead of the game in the second and started to pull Sierra away with a strong series. He hit a 3, then stole the ball and made the subsequent lay up midway through the period.
“It was a big game, I guess we were just trying to get the jitters out and it never happened,” Perse said. “We knew we couldn’t come out like last week, because Sierra is a much better team than we’ve faced.”
Sierra 66, Broomfield 43
At Coors Events Center
Perse 4 1-2 10, Ongarato 5 0-0 12, Wood 3 1-2 7, Reeb 1 2-4 4, Kihn 0 4-4 4, Jukkala 1 0-0 2, Little 2 0-0 4. Total 16 8-14 43.
Wilson 7 0-0 18, Brown 2 6-6 10, Winters 1 1-2 3, Little 3 2-2 8, Gordon 8 3-3 19, Wilson 3 2-4 8. Total 24 14-17 66.
Score by quarters:
Broomfield 10 10 10 13 — 43
Sierra 10 19 20 17 — 66
3-point field goals — Broomfield (3): Perse, Ongarato 2; Sierra (4): Wilson. Total fouls — Broomfield 15; Sierra 13. Fouled out –none. Technical fouls — none.