File this entry under “Better late than never.”
Yes, it has been a little more than a month now since the 2012-13 athletic season came to an end, and the crew at BoCoPreps already is looking forward to what thrills will occur during the 2013-14 school year.
So, upon a few weeks of reflection, here are my top five games from the 2012-13 year. A few disclaimers first. These are games that I covered and witnessed in person, not all the games from the entire year. I had no particular criteria except to perhaps think about the stakes at hand and the depths of the “Wow!” moment I experienced.
So, in no particular order, my top five games of 2012-13:
Silver Creek vs. Rifle, Class 3A football state title game, Dec. 1, 2012: A year earlier, the Raptors couldn’t come through in the second half while falling to Windsor in the 2011 title game. Not so this year. Silver Creek never trailed, outscoring Rifle 25-8 after the first quarter and getting an exclamation-point touchdown from Ben Sjobakken to Trey Fleming late in the fourth quarter that sent Raptor Nation into a frenzy while delivering the school’s first football title.
Elise Cranny, Class 4A state cross country finals, Oct. 27, 2012: Yes, I know this wasn’t a “game” per se, but it certainly was too thrilling a finish to overlook. I was tasked with providing coverage of the 4A girls final and was standing at the finish line as Air Academy freshman Katie Rainsberger appeared to be a lock for the title. As Cranny surged into the stadium my thoughts turned from “I’m writing a second-place story” to “She might actually catch her” to “Holy cow she did it!” Rare is the occasion when a cross country race provides that sort of unbelievable photo finish.
Boulder vs. Fairview, Class 5A boys soccer semifinals, Nov. 7, 2012: This was hardly the first time the cross-town rivals had collided on a big stage, as Boulder knocked off a Shane O’Neill-led Fairview team in the 5A quarterfinals in 2010. Fittingly, 80 minutes couldn’t decide a victor. The rivals traded chances until 5 minutes, 23 seconds into overtime, when Boulder’s Lake Brant sent a crossing pass in from the left wing that midfielder Javier Castruita converted for the winning goal, securing the first state title berth for the eventual 5A champs.
Shining Mountain vs. Kent Denver, boys basketball, Jan. 29, 2013: In a battle of top-ranked teams, Class 1A No. 1 Shining Mountain outlasted the Sun Devils, ranked No. 1 in 3A, in an overtime thriller. It was a raucous atmosphere in the Lions’ intimate gym, and the small schools traded shots like a pair of determined heavyweights. In the end it was a combined four 3-pointers in overtime from Billy Hussey and Landon Taliaferro that lifted Shining Mountain to a 76-72 win that ended Kent Denver’s undefeated start.
Boulder vs. Regis Jesuit, second round of 5A boys basketball state tournament, March 2, 2013: OK, so this one didn’t end triumphantly for the local team, as the Panthers were eliminated 56-52 in a packed gym at Regis. However, that failed to diminish the effort of the Panthers, who nearly upset the top-seeded Raiders behind a spirited comeback. Boulder rallied from a 14-point deficit midway through the third quarter to tie the game with 1:13 remaining on a three-point play from Alejandro Rodriguez. Although Boulder couldn’t complete the upset bid, it was a gutsy effort on the road by a team that easily could have been overwhelmed by the atmosphere.
Follow Pat on Twitter: @prooney07