Eads senior Connor Wollert played in his final basketball game at the Regional championships with a state tournament berth on the line. Wollert and the Eagles were unable to get the win ending their season in a 57-25 loss to #2 Denver Jewish Day.
The Eads boys’ basketball team has been off-and-on at times across the regular season, but towards the end of the season they put together enough good wins against some quality opponents to advance to the Regional tournament as a #15 seed with a 10-10 record at #2 Denver Jewish Day (19-3) gymnasium. At the regional tournament they put together a good semifinal game against a hot-handed La Veta (#18, 14-8) team on Thursday defeating them in an exciting contest, 56-37. That win advanced the Eagles to the regional championship with a berth to the state tournament on the line. They took on the very good Denver Jewish Day group who had beaten Hi-Plains on Thursday, 84-49. Eads hung with the Denver team for the first half but could not keep pace with them in the second part of the game losing, 57-25.
The loss ended their season at 11-11.
According to Eads head coach Weston Meardon, “Regionals started off good for us, with a nice win over a La Veta team who was carrying some momentum going into the first round of regionals. We were able to execute our game plan and pick up a win the first day.”
The Eagles led La Veta at the intermission, 20-15, and then used a hot third quarter to control La Veta outscoring them 18-7. One key to this game came from the free throw line where the Eagles hit 15-of-23.
Junior point guard Porter Spady put together a phenomenal game with a double-double performance scoring 22 points, including a couple of triples. He also grabbed 10 rebounds, made 4 assists, and took 6 steals.
Sophomore guard Stockton Mitchek added 15 points. Senior Connor Wollert had a strong game with 8 points and a very impressive 16 rebounds. He also had 3 assists and 2 steals. Sophomore post Case Nelson had 4 rebounds and 4 assists for Eads.
Meardon then described the next night against the Denver Jewish Day team, one of the best he’s seen, “I thought we had a good game plan going into Friday (Regional championship game), as we wanted to keep the score low against Denver Jewish Day and were able to end the first half with a manageable deficit going into halftime. Then the third quarter happened, and Denver Jewish Day came out swinging and blew the game wide open. It was tough for us to even get decent looks at the basket in the second half. They were a good team who played well together and always seemed to find the open man. They shot well, pushed the ball well, and just had a really good second half.”
Eads trailed 17-10 at the intermission and it looked as if they might be able to hang around and perhaps cause some problems for the home team coming down toward the wire. However, that hope was dashed when DJD poured 28 points into the basket in the third period compared to just 8 for Eads. The Denver players were good shooters, at least on Friday night, as they hit for 54% from the field. They also out-boarded Eads 26-13.
Denver Jewish Day will be a tough out for the rest of the field at the 1A state tournament. They are loaded with all juniors and seniors with no underclassmen on the team.
Although the scoring wasn’t impressive for Eads, they were led by junior shooting guard Brentley Lening who hit 2 triples on his way to 8 points. Wollert, in the final game of his career, hit for 6 points and led in rebounds with 6. Spady was held down to 5 points, including one three ball, and added 2 boards and 4 assists to the team totals. Nelson added 5 points, coming from one triple.
Eads will lose just one senior, Conner Wollert, who played the bulk of the season and was a starter. He had a near double-double season averaging 8.2 points per game and pulling down 9.8 rebounds per game. One other senior was on the team and that was A.J. Vasquez who was injured as a junior and then was able to put in 7 games during his senior campaign before injury stopped him again. In those 7 games he averaged 1.6 ppg and 2.6 rpg. He stayed with the team and contributed in a myriad of ways trying to help his teammates. Both seniors will be sorely missed by the Eads program.
Meardon finalized his perceptions of the season, “I’m proud of our boys overall for the season. We only ended up as a .500 team record wise, but time and time again, proved that we could play with anybody in the state when we played well. I thought that our inconsistency of play throughout stretches of the season and games was our downfall to what prevented us from having our record accurately reflect the type of team we were.”