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Boys basketball: Frederick bows out in first Final Four appearance in 66 years

Warriors fall to Pueblo South at Coliseum

  • Pueblo South High School's Terrance Austin ...

    Pueblo South High School's Terrance Austin (No. 5) blocks a shot from Frederick High School's Jacob Lovins (No. 4) in a Class 4A Final Four game at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Frederick High School's Alex Sturm (No. ...

    Frederick High School's Alex Sturm (No. 45) dives after the loose ball with Pueblo South High School's Mateo Esquivel (No. 33) and Jace Bellah (No. 4) in a Class 4A Final Four game at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Frederick High School's head boys coach ...

    Frederick High School's head boys coach Jeff Conway reacts in the Class 4A Final Four game against Pueblo South High School at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Frederick High School's Jacob Lovins (No. ...

    Frederick High School's Jacob Lovins (No. 4) puts in a basket against Pueblo South High School in a Class 4A Final Four game at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Frederick High School's Luke Justice (No. ...

    Frederick High School's Luke Justice (No. 1) reacts after losing to Pueblo South High School in a Class 4A Final Four game at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Frederick High School's Matias Aldana (No. ...

    Frederick High School's Matias Aldana (No. 24) wins the jump ball against Pueblo South High School's Mateo Esquivel (No. 33) in a Class 4A Final Four game at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Frederick High School's Luke Justice (No. ...

    Frederick High School's Luke Justice (No. 1) reacts after losing to Pueblo South High School in a Class 4A Final Four game at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Frederick High School's Alex Sturm (No. ...

    Frederick High School's Alex Sturm (No. 45) puts up a shot past Pueblo South High School's Mateo Esquivel (No. 33) in a Class 4A Final Four game at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Frederick High School's Matias Aldana (No. ...

    Frederick High School's Matias Aldana (No. 24) tries to put up a shot past Pueblo South High School's Mateo Esquivel (No. 33) in a Class 4A Final Four game at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Frederick High School's Bryce Conover (No. ...

    Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Frederick High School's Bryce Conover (No. 13) shoots past Pueblo South High School's Maurice Austin (No. 24) in a Class 4A Final Four game at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022.

  • Frederick High School's Bryce Conover (No. 13) tries to put...

    Frederick High School's Bryce Conover (No. 13) tries to put up a shot but is fouled by Pueblo South High School's Jace Bellah (No. 4) in a Class 4A Final Four game at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Frederick High School's head boys coach Jeff Conway reacts in...

    Frederick High School's head boys coach Jeff Conway reacts in the Class 4A Final Four game against Pueblo South High School at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Pueblo South High School's Terrance Austin ...

    Pueblo South High School's Terrance Austin (No. 5) blocks a shot from Frederick High School's Luke Justice (No. 1) in a Class 4A Final Four game at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Frederick High School's Bryce Conover (No. ...

    Frederick High School's Bryce Conover (No. 13) tries to put up a shot between Pueblo South High School's Terrance Austin (No. 5) and Mateo Esquivel (No. 33) in a Class 4A Final Four game at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Frederick High School's Bryce Conover (No. 13) drives around Pueblo...

    Frederick High School's Bryce Conover (No. 13) drives around Pueblo South High School's Jace Bellah (No. 4) in a Class 4A Final Four game at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Frederick High School's Matias Aldana (No. ...

    Frederick High School's Matias Aldana (No. 24) tries to put up a shot past Pueblo South High School's Markus Morita (No. 55) in a Class 4A Final Four game at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Frederick High School's Alex Sturm (No. ...

    Frederick High School's Alex Sturm (No. 45) looks to shoot past Pueblo South High School's Markus Morita (No. 55) in a Class 4A Final Four game at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Pueblo South High School's Ray J. ...

    Pueblo South High School's Ray J. Aragon (No. 2) tries to knock the ball away from Frederick High School's Jacoby Conway (No. 12) in a Class 4A Final Four game at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Frederick High School's boys basketball team ...

    Frederick High School's boys basketball team huddles before the Class 4A Final Four game against Pueblo South High School at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • Frederick High School's (No.) shoots past ...

    Frederick High School's Jacoby Conway (No. 12) shoots past Pueblo South High School's Terrance Austin (No. 5) in a Class 4A Final Four game at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, March 11, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

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DENVER — Frederick’s sparkling run into high school’s Class 4A Final Four followed seven years without a postseason victory. And inside the Denver Coliseum Friday night, it wouldn’t end without first putting a scare into the classification’s only undefeated squad.

Bryce Conover scored 17 points in his final high school game, senior Jacoby Conway and junior Matias Aldana each had 10, and the last of the local teams left in the basketball playoff tournaments “grinded and fought” before falling to Pueblo South, 67-56.

“We kept fighting and kept grinding, and that’s what this team has been about all year,” Frederick coach Jeff Conway said. “We were down a couple times at half this year and kept grinding and found ways to win. Luck just ran out.”

Frederick’s run to its first Final Four since 1956 saw a perfect finish in the 4A Longs Peak League, followed by Jacoby Conway’s buzzer-beating layup to beat D’Evelyn in the Sweet 16 and a convincing win afterward over defending champion Mead.

A lot of the reason for it was their offensive efficiency, especially from the perimeter, where the Warriors came into the night fourth in the classification with 184 3s on the season. Their ability to wipe out deficits was key, too —  but both wavered just enough at the Coliseum, ending their season.

The second-seeded Colts feasted defensively, disrupting passing lanes as they exchanged midcourt steals for fast-break layups in building their lead to double digits in the second quarter. No. 6 Frederick in turn struggled finding its patented deep ball, going just 5-of-17 from 3. It also finished with 16 turnovers at the half and 23 overall, its most this season.

“Anytime you would catch the ball, there were two of them on you,” Jacoby Conway said. “They just fly around. And it’s so hard to see them coming because they’re so fast.”

Despite it, the Warriors wouldn’t go away. They trimmed a 16-point deficit to 10 into the late moments. Luke Justice scored five straight in the final minutes, including an and-one, and Harry Singh’s bucket clipped the Colts’ lead to 60-50 with 1:57 remaining.

South, though, sealed things with five free throws in the final minute. As it celebrated, Frederick reflected.

“When we beat Mead last week, I think we started to realize how much we were actually doing for our town,” Conover said. “There were literally middle school kids coming up to us, asking for autographs, pictures. I think once it hit that we were going to the Coliseum — I mean you can see there are thousands of people up there cheering us on — we started to realize how much we were doing for our community and how much we were doing for these kids.”

Conover snapped an opening scoreless drought of 3:43 with a deep swish, spurring a 9-0 run that put the Warriors in control in the first. After another pair of misfires from deep, Singh stripped away a loose board and tapped in a shot as Frederick led 13-8 at the close of the period.

But South answered emphatically in the second. Led by decorated coach Shannan Lane, who won a title as a player and the girls’ coach for the school (and is now one win away from the hoops trifecta), the Colts outscored the Warriors 20-4 in the frame to take a 28-17 lead into the break.

Maurice Austin scored 12 in the quarter by himself and finished with 19. Brother Tarrance had eight in the frame and finished with 23 to lead the Colts. They will face No. 1 Lewis-Palmer in the 4A finals Saturday.

“It’s been amazing, it’s been so fun,” Jacoby said inside the Coliseum tunnels afterward. “Five years ago, we went 1-22, 2-21 (in 2015). It’s insane how far we’ve come.”

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