OLATHE - Apparently, making regionals wasn't that tough after all.
After years of butting its collective head against the wall that was the district semifinals, Vail Christian boys basketball, made it look easy Friday night, downing Plateau Valley, 60-29.
The Saints will play Norwood today at 3:30 p.m.. for the Class 1A District Tournament championship. More importantly, Vail Christian is moving on to regionals in Glenwood Springs next Saturday for the first time in school history.
"Oh, man, reverse the curse. We reversed the curse of Friday night at districts," Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns, who has coached the boys varsity team for all 13 years it's been going. "It's a hurdle we've tried to clear for 13 years, and we finally did it."
Friday at districts has been the bane of Vail Christian's existence - the girls finally broke through last year. In years when the Saints were considerable underdogs, they nearly pulled the upset often. In seasons when Kuhns' crew seemed to have a legitimate chance of advancing, heartbreak followed.
Vail Christian (16-4) finally did the deed, doing what it's been doing for a lot of the 2012-13 season - playing defense. The Saints' Gunnar Wilson held the Cowboys' leading scorer, Kyler Smith (a season average of 18 points per game) to just eight points. Vail Christian won the battle of the boards as well.
"Complete team effort on defense and offense," Kuhns said. "Defensively, to hold someone to 29 points is remarkable."
Kevin Boselli led the Saints with 14 points, while Robby Bowles had 10. Luke Berger and Branden Currey each had eight.
And so the Saints will play on Saturday at districts, with a regional berth already in hand. As seems to be customary in Vail Christian sports, it will be Norwood. The Saints did beat the Mavericks, 62-37, on Dec. 1.
"They're a different team," Kuhns said. "We expect them to slow it down. It should be a complete slugfest in the 40s or the 50s. The kids are excited. As a program, we've been working for this for 13 years, but the seniors have also been working hard for four years to get over this hurdle."
Devils fall to No. 1 D'Evelyn
DENVER - Cinderella nearly pulled it off.
Eagle Valley boys basketball gave No. 1 D'Evelyn all it could handle Friday night as the Jaguars came away with a 57-51 win in the second round of the state playoffs in Denver.
The Devils, who finished the season with a mark of 16-8, held the high-powered Jaguars to a season-low of 57 points. D'Evelyn (22-1) had been averaging 81 points per game.
Eagle Valley jumped on D'Evelyn, winning the first quarter. Travis Edgar, who finished the night with a team-high 13 points, started the game with a put back and Juan Baca struck from downtown for 5-2 lead. By the time Ryan Werner and Ayren Hart had buckets inside, the Devils led 9-8 after the first quarter.
The Devils were down 30-21 in the third quarter, when Edgar had a three-point play. Edgar had another layup, and then Hart scored six-straight points to pull to within 35-33. Baca's baseline jumper tied it at 35.
Sam Lounsberry sunk both ends of a 1-and-1 and he staked the Devils to a 40-35 advantage with a 3. Lounsberry hit his second trey in the fourth and the Devils were up 43-38, before D'Evelyn's Ty McGee scored five in a row of his own to tie it.
Edgar's put-back gave the Devils their last lead at 45-43. The Jaguars' Connor Skelton gave his team the lead for good with a three-point play.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.