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Granada’s Maddox Coleman rises for a jump shot during third place District 2 action in Lamar. Eads defeated Coleman and the Granada Bobcats, 47-39.
Ty Lin Williams

Eads Boys Grab Third Place in Highly-Competitive District 2 Tournament, Advance to the Region 7 Tournament


By Betsy Barnett

March 1, 2024

The Eads boys’ basketball team rebounded from their 46-40 semifinal loss to Cheyenne Wells in the District 2 tournament on Thursday, February 22nd, to grab a satisfying 47-39 third place win over Granada on Saturday night in front of a packed crowd at the Lamar Community Building.

Granada is the best 7-15 team in Colorado as they are now with the services of their top-scorer Maddox Coleman who was out for most of the season recovering from knee surgery. On February 16th, Eads and Granada had played in the regular season league schedule where Coleman had just come back into the lineup the week before. Eads barely came out of the Bobcat Gym alive, winning in overtime, 69-67.

Both Eads and Granada advanced to the regional tournament. Eads (16-6) ended up in the Region 7 tournament as the #10 seed and will play Genoa-Hugo (#23, 11-11) in the first round on Friday, March 1 at 7:00 pm. They have to win that one to advance to the Region 7 title game between the winner of Peetz (#7, 17-4) and Centennial (#26, 10-8).

Granada ended up in the Region 5 tournament and are seeded #28 with a 7-15 record. They will face off on Friday, March 1st against #5 Belleview Christian (18-3) who is hosting the Region 5 tournament. Idalia (#12, 17-5) and Primero (#21, 13-9) are the other two teams that will play in the Region 5 tournament.

“I was very pleased with where we got seeded. We knew Cheyenne Wells was going to be a tough match up a couple weeks after beating them during the regular season. We had a little bit closer of a game against Granada than we would have liked, but the Coleman kid energizes their whole team and makes them all better players. Fortunately, we were able to hold them off to get the win.”

The key to Eads’ win over Granada for third place was the hounding, dogging, tightly following box-and-one defense Eads put on Coleman. The Eagles junior wing Stockton Mitchek got the assignment and hounded Coleman wherever he went with no other responsibility except to deny him the ball at all costs. Coleman still got in a few licks, but the defensive strategy worked overall as it forced the rest of the Granada players to play without him for the most part.

Offensively for Eads, senior Porter Spady lit up the cords from the get-go as he hit a triple to start the game. The contest went back and fourth in the first quarter and by the end of that stanza the Bobcats had a slim, 11-10, lead.

But the Eagles came alive in the second period holding Granada to just a single 3-ballfrom Jose Sanchez. Eads led at the intermission, 25-14.

The Eagles kept the pressure on through the third period, as well, and led by ten at the buzzer, setting up an exciting fourth quarter where Granada got within three points, 39-36, when Eads turned the ball over and Coleman struck back hitting a key 3-pointer with 3:07 left in the contest.

Mitchek then made a key jumper to move Eads to a 41-36 advantage. With two minutes left on the clock Nelson stole the ball and Eads, with the lead, began to stall the ball forcing the Bobcats to foul in order to stop the clock. Mitchek made 1-of-2 free throws with 1:07 left, but Spady grabbed the missed Mitchek free throw forcing Granada to foul him. Spady then hit the front end of his two free throws leaving the score at 44-36. Eads then turned up the defensive effort and Brentley Lening would be fouled with .39 seconds remaining. Lening, too, hit 1-of-2 from the line leaving the score at 44-36.

Granada wasn’t quite through when Sanchez hit a dagger triple from the long corner putting the score at 45-39. Eads then took care of the ball for the final 30 seconds and Spady made two free throws to secure the Eagle victory.

Eads had four players in double figures including Spady with 13 points and 7 rebounds, Lening added 12 points, including three long balls, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Mitchek and Nelson each added 10 points.

The Bobcats were led by Coleman with 11 points, including two triples. Sanches hit two 3-balls for 10 points, and Jonus Guevara added 8 points.

Eads now makes the long trip up north to Peetz for the Region 7 Tournament where they will first meet up with a well-known opponent in Genoa-Hugo.

Eads defeated Genoa-Hugo in the regular season on February 15th, 69-42, but Meardon knows it is now the post season and that means all bets are off and what happened in the regular season has no bearing on outcomes in the post season. In order to win here a team can ride on past outcomes—they have to show up and play hard for 32 minutes.

“I feel we got a great draw into the Region 7 tournament. Hugo is never an easy game, especially with the Smith kid playing. I’m hoping we can have two great games this weekend and return the Eads Eagles back to the state tournament.”

Cheyenne Wells Gets the Revenge Match over Eads in District 2 Semifinals, 46-40

It was tight the whole way on Thursday night in the District 2 tournament semifinal game featuring #2 seeded (#7 in the state) Eads and #3 seeded (#2 in the state) Cheyenne Wells in a rematch of their February 9th contest in Eads where the Eagles got the better of the Tigers, 44-33. This time Cheyenne Wells managed to find a couple of crucial buckets when they needed them to shut the door on a stingy Eads group that just wouldn’t go away. The Tigers finally controlled the game by the end, 46-40.

The win advanced the Tigers to a showdown between #1 and #2 in the state of Colorado in the 1A division as McClave and Cheyenne Wells will duke it out on Saturday night at the Lamar Community Building in the title match at 7:00 pm.

In their last meeting, Cheyenne Wells got an exciting overtime win, 61-56, on January 4 over the Cardinals. The Tigers know McClave will be gunning for revenge on Saturday. The match will feature two of the best big men in the state in the 1A division including the Cardinals’ freshman phenom, Tuff Kelley, and the Tigers super sophomore, Corey Hill. Both post players stand roughly in the 6’ 7 to 6’ 8 size range.

In the semifinals, the Eagles did a pretty good job of controlling Hill using a front and back double team trying to deflect any passes coming his way. It worked well for the first half, but the sophomore hurt Eads in the second half as he scored in key situations down the stretch, mostly coming off offensive putbacks.

The Tigers jumped out to a 13-12 lead at the end of the first stanza when both Porter Spady and Stockton Mitchek were forced to take a seat with 2 fouls apiece. That hiatus hurt Eads and saw them relinquish a comeback after they had gotten behind 9-0 to start the contest.

By the intermission the needle had not changed with the Tigers still holding that tenuous one-point lead, 22-21.

The second half was still mostly a toss up but if you looked closely, you could see the Eads group missing a couple of beats as the game wore on. The absolute difference in the game for Eads came in the second half when first they allowed Conrad Ball two open looks at a triple—he hit them both at just the right time to strangle out the runs Eads was producing.

The other key stat for Eads was their terrible performance on the free throw line. They didn’t get many visits to the line but shot a game-breaking 1-for-6 on the night. The Tigers were better hitting 10-for-20 enjoying many more free shot opportunities. That free throw game was the difference in the score, no doubt.

Hill managed yet another double-double performance as the big man hit for 10 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. Perry Chadwick hurt Eads as he had in their previous game, hitting for 11 points and grabbing 6 boards. Outside shooters Zach Dickey and Ball each scored 8 points in the win.

The Eagles were led by Porter Spady with 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists on the night. Brentley Lening had a couple of key long balls on his way to 12 points. Mitchek hit a couple of buckets and pulled down 7 rebounds, while Case Nelson added 8 points.

Eads is going to be challenged in the third-place game on Saturday night as they will face Granada again after the Bobcats gave McClave all they could handle on Thursday night in the other semifinals contest. Granada, despite their losing record, is a very dangerous team as Eads knows all too well as they barely escaped the Bobcat Gym last weekend with an OT win.

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