BOULDER — The No. 2 seed Fairview Knights advanced into the Sweet 16 in the Class 5A state basketball tournament, but not without facing a fight from the No. 31 seed Fountain-Fort Carson Trojans on Saturday.
Isacc Berrier attempted a 3-pointer in the corner for Fountain-Fort Carson (14-11) with two seconds remaining that would have been the game-winning shot, but his shot was short and bounced off the rim and into the hands of Fairview’s Brody Pinto with no time on the clock for the Knights (21-3), who hung on for a 60-59 victory on their home floor.
“When (Berrier) shot it, I thought it looked dead on,” Fairview’s Jalen Page said. “It was crazy. But when he missed it and my teammate Brody got the rebound, it was just joy.”
Fairview would actually lead the entire game from start to finish despite winning by just the one point. The Knights delivered the first blow of the game by scoring on their first three possessions, and a bucket from Jalen Page shortly after completed a 10-0 run to start.
“It was amazing to come out and show them our strength,” Fairview’s Greysen Carter said. “It was good to punch them in the mouth in the first minute. We never gave up.”
Fountain-Fort Carson never wavered despite the early deficit and fought all afternoon to stay in the game. Isiah Thompson, a 6-foot-6 veteran forward, scored a team-leading 23 points, and his defense also helped slow down Fairview’s hot offense after they gave up 18 points in the opening quarter.
Little by little, Fountain-Fort Carson climbed to within a point or two of Fairview throughout the game, but every time they did so they saw the Knights responded with a small run that pushed the lead back out to six points or more.
“That kept us in it,” Carter said on maintaining the lead. “We never gave up. That’s the big thing for us.”
Carter found his stroke from the perimeter and led Fairview with 23 points in the win. Grant Page made some big free throws late to complete a solid game with 14 points and Mark O’Neill scored 11 before fouling out.
Getting the win was one thing, but doing so in a close, competitive game that came down to the final buzzer is something Fairview hopes will serve it well when it returns to the home court for the Sweet 16 on Wednesday.
“I think it really shows we can win hard-fought games,” Page said. “I think it will be good for us in the long run.”