DENVER — In a span of three days, Fairview experienced both extremes of the state basketball tournament.
The uplifting highs. The crushing lows.
The Knights’ emotional gamut is now complete, as is their season after Friday night’s 46-45 loss to Legend in the Class 5A quarterfinals at the Denver Coliseum.
“There are some things we could have done different tonight, but that’s not what we talked about,” Fairview coach Frank Lee said after emerging from a melancholy locker room. “We talked about how far they brought us and how much the program is better because of them.”
Legend, the No. 5 seed in the John Casey Region, entered with some steam after knocking off No. 1 Chatfield 51-49 on Wednesday. That was the same night Fairview got a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Dakota Pilkington to defeat ThunderRidge, an instant classic in Knights’ annals.
It almost happened again, as Fairview (22-4) had two chances in the final 10 seconds. Trailing by one, Trevor McQueeney’s 3-point attempt from the left wing was partially blocked and Legend rebounded with 1.6 seconds to play.
But Connor Orgill missed his free throw, and Brent Wrapp heaved a three-quarter court bomb at the buzzer. It nearly banked in, but narrowly missed and the Knights’ season was over.
“There are some heartbroken kids in there,” Lee said. “But we grew as a team and we’re going to have their backs in the future.”
Fairview led 45-41 midway through the fourth but couldn’t score in the final minutes. Instead, Legend 6-foot-7 center Zach Mihalicz closed with a flourish, including the go-ahead basket with 1:04 to play.
The Knights began the night on fire, taking a 19-11 lead after the first quarter. South Dakota-bound center Austin Sparks finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, but eight points and five rebounds came in the opening quarter before Legend (21-6) clamped down.
“I don’t know if the plan changed,” said Legend coach Kevin Boley, who coached at Broomfield from 1998-2008. “I just think we did a little better job on him. We were a little bit more aware.”
McQueeney added 14 points for the Knights, who shot only 37.5 percent from the floor compared to 50 for Legend. Taylor Jenson scored 15 to lead the Titans.
Fairview held Legend top scorer Jon Cosmann scoreless, but that was somewhat balanced out by the Titans limiting Wrapp to four points.
Legend will take on Denver East (24-2) in the semifinals Friday night at the Coors Events Center. The Angels haven’t lost an in-state game this season and narrowly defeated Arapahoe 60-55 earlier in the day.
Fairview, meanwhile, will be reflecting on an incredible season.
“One of the things that plagued us throughout the year is that we’d get a little impatient offensively, and I think we did that at times,” Lee said. “It turned into a game of one possession, and unfortunately we came up empty at the end.”
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Legend 46, Fairview 45
At Denver Coliseum
Willis 4 0-1 8, Sloan 0 0-0 0, Jenson 5 2-2 15, Cosmann 0 0-1 0, Milhalicz 5 1-2 11, Laborda 0 0-0 0, Cherrington 0 0-0 0, Matticks 0 0-0 0, Orgill 6 0-1 12. Totals 20 3-7 46.
Wrapp 1 2-2 4, Tierney 1 1-2 3, McQueeney 5 0-0 14, MacKenzie 2 0-0 4, Sparks 4 7-8 15, Martin 2 0-0 4, Pilkington 0 1-2 1. Totals 15 11-14 45.
Score by quarters:
Legend 11 11 15 9 — 46
Fairview 19 7 12 7 — 45
3-point field goals — Legend (3): Jenson 3; Fairview (4): McQueeney 4. Total fouls — Legend 14, Fairview 15. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.