BROOMFIELD — It was a memory that needed to be erased.
The last time the Jefferson Academy boys basketball team played a meaningful game in their home gym, they were beat at the buzzer by Manitou Springs and denied a chance to play for a state title as the No. 1 seed in the Class 3A state tournament.
“It’s important to us to sort of re-establish ourselves as kind of a dominant entity in our own house,” senior Joe Raff said. “We want to bring those students out and bring a lot of recognition to our team and we can’t do that if we don’t win here.”
The Jaguars (2-0) got off to a fantastic start on their home floor, pulling away from Sheridan in the third quarter for a 68-51 win over the Rams in the opening round of the Black and Gold Classic.
“That was a tough loss,” said Jefferson Academy coach Mark Sharpley, whose team began the season ranked No. 5 in the CHSAANow.com Class 3A poll. “We are moving on.”
The early stages of the game favored the more frenetic tempo of the visiting Rams, whose helter-skelter style saw them knock down shots from deep as well as crash the boards. Led by junior point guard Daniel Martinez, Sheridan kept things close through 16 minutes and went to the locker room down just 32-28.
“They are effective at what they do and then it starts creating a tempo that they are comfortable with,” said Sharpley, whose team will play in Saturday championship game at 1:30 p.m. against Grand Valley.
The Jaguars got back to basics, especially on the offensive end in the second half, and were able to slowly pick the smaller Rams apart. Jefferson Academy outscored Sheridan (0-1) 20-9 in the third quarter, a run sparked by Raff, Taylor Teets, and Andrew Ullman.
Raff was brilliant, finishing with 24 points, including nine in the pivotal third quarter.
“It’s important that we play our game, but at the same time we don’t want to try and force the tempo and let the game come to us,” Raff said. “If the pace of the game is fast, then we can play fast and likewise if it is slow.”
Jefferson Academy attack was balanced and after Raff’s 24, Ullman had 16, Jake Barlow had nine, Justin Barlow had eight and Teets finished with seven.
“They do everything I can do and they do everything I can’t do,” said Raff of his supporting cast. “They attack the glass better than me, they pass in situations when I can’t make plays and it’s nice to know there is always that guy, and there are five or six of them, that can make plays.”
Martinez was steady for Sheridan and led them with 17 points. Hector Reyes and Alex Redondo each had six points.
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Jefferson Academy 68, Sheridan 51
At Jefferson Academy
Robert Williams 2 0-0 4, Pedro Valdez 0 0-0 0, Hector Reyes 2 0-0 6, Daniel Martinez 3 10-13 17, Jonathon Aguilar 1 0-0 2, Oscar Salinas 1 0-1 2, Alex Redondo 3 0-0 6, Brandon Gonzales 2 0-0 5, Rafael Saucedo 0 0-0 0, Devonte Trujillo 2 1-2 5, Philip Mackintosh 2 0-0 4. Totals 18 11-16 51.
JEFFERSON ACADEMY (2-0)
Taylor Teets 2 3-4 7, Andrew Ullman 6 3-5 16, Justin Barlow 3 2-5 8, Jake Barlow 2 5-10 9, Trever Ballard 0 0-0 0, Joe Raff 11 1-2 24, Dalton Hagen 1 2-2 4, Dylan Bendure 0 0-0 0, Tyler Thimsen 0 0-0 0, Vince Abeyta 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 16-28 68.
Score by quarters:
Sheridan 14 14 9 14 — 51
Jefferson Academy 18 14 20 16 — 68
3-point field goals — Sheridan (4): Reyes 2, Martinez, Gonzales; Jefferson Academy (2): Ullman, Raff.
Total fouls — Sheridan 19; Jefferson Academy 15. Technical foul — Reyes.