Scott Kaniewski Troy Noser took care of the first half. Dave Arnold took care of the second half. A fantastic finish and great come-from-behind win …
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Troy Noser took care of the first half. Dave Arnold took care of
the second half.
A fantastic finish and great come-from-behind win over No. 1
Eaglecrest has the Grizzlies headed to the final four for the
fourth time in six seasons.
Noser went 5-for-5 from 3-point land in the first half, and
Arnold scored a game-high 27 points, including a pair of free
throws with 2 seconds to play, to lead No. 3 ThunderRidge to a
57-56 victory over Eaglecrest at the Denver Coliseum on March 7 in
the Class 5A Great 8 round of the state basketball tournament.
“We were mixing it up, playing man and zone, threw them off a
little bit,” Noser said. “Team defense.”
In their previous three trips to the final four the Grizzlies
reached the title game. Each time they’ve come up short, including
last season when the Grizzlies had a chance to tie and send the
game into overtime, but Arnold’s 3-point attempt fell short at the
Arnold didn’t let that happen with a chance to go to the final
four on the line. With ThunderRidge trailing 56-55, Eaglecrest had
possession with 1:10 to play. The Raptors ran the clock down to 35
seconds and called timeout. Then Noser, who was instrumental in
keeping the Grizzlies in the game in the first half, knocked the
ball loose from Eaglecrest’s Josh Turner. A tie-up for the loose
ball gave possession to the Grizzlies with 26 seconds
ThunderRidge put the ball in Arnold’s hands. But the Grizzlies’
most sure-handed player lost it on his drive, and Eaglecrest’s Gage
Wooten grabbed the ball before being fouled. With 8 seconds
remaining, Wooten needed to hit both free throws for a three-point
lead. Instead, Wooten, who finished tied with a team-high 15
points, missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Arnold grabbed the
rebound and raced down court. Trying to drive the lane, Arnold was
fouled, putting him at the line because the Grizzlies were in the
With 2 seconds on the clock, Arnold sunk both free throws.
Eaglecrest guard Arden Dennis got a good look, but his game-ending
shot clanged off the front of the rim, sending the Grizzlies’ bench
racing to the court to celebrate the final-four berth.
“Yeah, and I was [upset],” Arnold said about the two previous
free-throw attempts he missed. “But I knew I was going to make [the
The Grizzlies guard was sensational in the second half. He made
9-of-11 shots in the second half [81.8 percent] and scored the
Grizzlies’ last nine points.
“He’s been unguardable,” ThunderRidge coach Joe Ortiz said. “He
willed that thing to go in at the end.”
Early on, Arnold couldn’t find his range. So he and his
teammates found someone who could: Noser. With Eaglecrest running a
trap defense, Noser kept getting open, and his teammates kept
feeding him the ball. When they got it to him, he found the bottom
of the net.
“I just felt it,” Noser said. “My boys were getting me the
Ortiz admitted he didn’t think his team was final-four material
when the season began.
“We looked at this team and said what do we have to do today?”
Ortiz said. “We always have expectations, but no, absolutely
ThunderRidge [18-8] faces No. 1 Regis [24-2] at the CU Events
Center in Boulder on Mar. 12 at 7 p.m. Regis defeated two-time
defending champ Denver East to reach the final four.
The Grizzlies are two victories away from a title. After the win
over Eaglecrest, Noser likes their chances.
“We’ll win,” Noser said. “We’ll win it.”
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