Raptors Fly Over Raiders with Victory

Caleb Sewell, Sports Editor

The second round of the playoffs started off shaky for the Raptors. On Saturday, February 24th, the No. 16 Raptors faced off against the No.17 Rangeview Raiders in the second round of CHSAA’s 5A State Championship bracket. This was Coach Krapcha’s first playoff game here at the Nest and it was also many of the Raptors’ first playoff experience outside of Xavion Jackson, Aaron Bokol, Morgan Brown, and Kenneth Thrower.

Head Assistant Varsity Coach, Jim Prager spoke on what the Raptors have to done to prepare for the Raiders. “We’ve done a bunch of film study, the coaches all went out to scout Rangeview against Arapahoe, a couple of players also went to watch, so we’re pretty locked in on their sets and what they run, and their match ups with other players as well.” The Raiders ended up beating the No. 48 Arapahoe Warriors 63-52. The Raptors were able to get a good look in that game.

For senior, captain, and point guard, Jackson, he wanted to take the role of leading his team, especially because he’s had previous playoff experience under his belt. “I have to step up and be a leader, make sure everybody is level headed, and play it game by game and not worry about the potential next one.” Throughout the game you could see Jackson’s leadership qualities sign as he never let his teammates get down on themselves for an extended period of time and he made the right plays.

Senior Forward, Thomas Dangerfield, felt like his team had a good game plan and knew what they had to do to be successful, as well as what to expect from Rangeview. “We’re expecting to see Rangeview come out here and play their hardest, try to get their second dub of the playoffs, and we have the tools and pieces to stop them.”

From tip-off, it looked like the Raptors were adjusting to the playoff atmosphere as the boys started off rough. Junior Aaron Bokol’s shot got blocked and, true Freshman Ty Robinson committed an early turnover. Rangeview’s Christian Speller hit a three pointer to make it 3-0. Then at 6:03, Jackson hit a free throw to give his team some momentum early which made the score 1-3. Rangeview then went on two hit two more consecutive threes which forced Coach Krapcha to call a timeout as the Raptors were then down 1-8. Out of the timeout, Raptor’s leading scorer, senior, Branden Bunn attacked the basket and gave the Raptors their first field goal of the game as the score became 3-8. He continued his attacking as he got fouled and hit both free throws to make the score 5-8. Dangerfield then checked into the game for the Raptors and he hit a three pointer to tie the game 8-8, with 2:12 left in the first quarter.

Senior Darius Houston scored the last bucket of the first quarter as he hit a three pointer off of the out of bounds play to make the score 13-15 as the first quarter ended.

The momentum from Houston’s bucket didn’t carry into the second quarter for the Raptors. Rangeview ended up going on a 7-0 run. Rangeview’s big man Ryan Ongla was force on defense as he contested shots left and right. The Raptors were down 13-22 with 6:24 left till halftime. Although the Raptors were struggling defensively, their offense led by Jackson, Bunn, and Thrower kept them in the game. Jackson hit both of his free throws after getting fouled with 6:07 left till halftime which made the score 15-22. When Thrower checked into the game, he hit two consecutive baskets in the post to make the score 27-36. Shortly after, Bunn hit a floater off of the glass to make the score 29-38. At the half the score was 29-38.

The second half started off with Jackson making one of his two free throws to make the score 30-38, that was followed by senior Morgan Brown and Jackson causing two steals and bringing the Raptor within seven of the Raiders. Raptors were struggling to make shots inside and the refs were not helping with their no calls. After a Rangeview timeout at 3:17, Bokol hit a three to make the score 36-41. Bokol continued to close gap for the Raptors along with Bunn and Brown. Bokol got a three point play at the buzzer for the Raptors and he made his free throw to make the score 43-44 at the end of the third quarter.

At the start of the fourth quarter senior Darius Houston got fouled and he made one of two free throws to start the fourth, making the score 44-44. Houston’s play was followed by a free throw from Brown and then a put back layup to give the Raptors their second lead of the game. The scoreboard read 47-44. The Eaglecrest East Gym went crazy as the Raptors got a boost of confidence that sparked the rest of the quarter. Bunn and Bokol continued to exchange buckets along with free throws from Jackson to make the score 58-46. The icing on the cake came with 2:40 left in the game as Brown gets a rebound and slams it for a dunk. The score was 63-50 and the Raiders hope for a comeback diminished. The final score was 67-54. The leading scorers were Bunn who had 19, Bokol who put up 13, and Jackson who had 11.

The Raptors would go on to face the No.1 seed Rock Canyon where they lost 64-65 in Overtime in the sweet sixteen.