ERIE — Only one team was ranked in the CHSAANow.com polls in Class 4A entering the week, but the RPI standings had Friday’s matchup between the Erie Tigers and the Skyline Falcons as a matchup of top-10 teams.
Erie, ranked ninth by CHSAA and seventh in the RPI standings, looked to avenge a 48-45 loss back in January to Skyline, who entered the game ranked No. 10 in the RPI rankings.
The battle lived up to the hype as two overtime periods were needed to determine the outcome. A strong push late from Skyline (16-5, 10-4 Tri-Valley League) was the difference to get the win at Erie (16-5, 11-3) by a score of 60-49.
“This was a lot of fun,” Skyline’s Gage Robertson said. “Double overtime, I loved every second of it.”
No lead was safe in the first four quarters and overtime period as neither side led by more than five points. That changed in double overtime with a fast start from Skyline, which opened the period with two made field goals inside from Austin Robison. Drawing attention from the Erie defense inside, Robison then found Robertson roaming along the 3-point line for a wide-open jumper that put the team up by four. Caden Silva hit a layup and free throws down the stretch allowed the Falcons to pull away for the win.
“We finished at the rim and made free throws,” Skyline coach Tyler Cerveny said about double overtime. “We struggled with that all game. Coach (Scott) Melin made a great defensive adjustment putting Chase (Silva) in the game and going to a 1-3-1 zone. That really helped us win the game.”
Robison’s play inside for Skyline was a big factor. The senior post player scored a game-high 29 points and established a presence in the paint that Erie could not contain. When the Tigers brought extra help on Robison, it helped free up Robertson to score 13 and Adrian Compian to score 12 with their shooting from the perimeter and being able to drive to the rim off passes from Robison that led to layups.
“All he does is score and gets us open,” Robertson said of Robison. “He gets us open, and when we feed him he finishes and gets rebounds. It’s really nice to have.”
Robison and company had to step up in the overtime periods after Erie gained momentum with a comeback in the fourth quarter sparked by their own post player.
LaDorian Havard roamed the free throw line against the Skyline zone defense and managed to hit turnaround jump shots and drive to the rim for critical points down the stretch. He made the biggest plays of the night in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to tie the game twice and force overtime. He got in the passing lane for a steal and breakaway layup to tie the game at 40-40, and when Skyline answered with a bucket he made another shot against the zone defense to tie it again at 42.
“He’s one of our most athletic players,” Erie coach Gail Hook said. “He’s capable of taking over a game. He can do some really good things out there. That’s what he should be doing, because I think athletically and talent wise, he can do that.”
Havard led the team with 16 points and eight rebounds in the loss. Kevin Loy was the other player in double figures for Erie with 15.
A big test Friday night serves well for both teams as they head into the final week of the regular season looking to clean some things up and prepare for a potential postseason run in the Class 4A state basketball tournament.
“We have Holy Family Tuesday night and they are going to be a tough matchup,” Robertson said. “We’re just going to have to keep going strong and see how we do.”
Skyline will also play Berthoud next week to finish the season. Erie is scheduled to host Mead on Tuesday and travel to Frederick next Friday.