DENVER -- Even though the Frederick boys basketball team made it to the final four of the state tournament for the first time since 1956, it was easy to see the disappointment on the faces of the Warriors’ players at the Denver Coliseum.
Pueblo South took advantage of 23 FHS turnovers to end Frederick’s season 67-56 March 11.
“Obviously the game didn't go as we wanted it to,” said senior forward Alex Sturn, who scored four points and grabbed one rebound. “We never really got going offensively, and a lot of credit goes to Pueblo South. They played a phenomenal game. That being said, I couldn't be more proud of this team this season. We've had a lot of forks in the road where we could've crumbled. However, we persevered, and we got all the way to the final four. That's the best any Frederick team has done in 70 years.”
Bryce Conover led the Warriors with 17 points.
“When we beat Mead (March 5), we started to realize how much we were doing for our town,” he said. “Middle-school kids were coming up to us, asking for autographs, pictures. I think once that hit that we were going to the Coliseum and that they were cheering us on, we started to realize how much we were doing for the community and for the kids.” The Frederick Police Department gave the team an escort out of town before the semifinal game.
Junior Harry Singh finished with eight points and pulled down six rebounds. He credited the seniors.
“They always pushed us and always had our backs,” Singh said. “The season went well because people didn’t expect us to make it past the first round. To have made it to the final four and still feel like we could have done more shows how great this team really is.”
Coach Jeff Conway credited the seniors, too.
“Our senior leadership stepped up big time this year,” he said. “This senior class gave us huge confidence to give the underclassmen the confidence they need for next year.”
Terrance Austin led the Colts with 25 points. Maurice Austin added 17, and Mateo Esquivel scored 10.
FHS had a five-point lead after the first quarter, but the Colts scored 20 of the second quarter’s 24 points to take command.
“We kind of lost in the second quarter where we gave them a little bit of a run,” Conway said. “But we battled back, stayed composed. We kept grinding and scrapping. We made a game of it. We just ran out of time.”
Conover, whose point total included three baskets from 3-point range, called it “just one of those games.”
“They had an advantage on us. They play in the Pueblo Coliseum (with its different shooting background from a regular gym),” he said. “When we first got out here, we couldn’t hit a shot to save our lives. It definitely transferred to the game. There seemed to be a lid on the basket.”
:The game was hard,” Singh said. “We didn’t play our best, and we all know that. So, it hurts a little more. But it’s OK. We didn’t lose to a bad team Pueblo South is an extremely good team.”
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well (FHS made 45 percent of its field goals),” Conway said. “They (Pueblo South) are tremendous on defense. They get above screens and don’t give you open looks. We didn’t get a lot of transition points.”
FHS finished with a record of 21-5.
“We went down as the winningest team in Frederick history. I would not have wanted to do it with any other group of guys,” Sturn said. “I love every single one of them. These juniors are special, and they will definitely be a force to be reckoned with next year. I can't wait to watch them play. I'd also like to thank the fans and the town of Frederick. The amount of support we've received has been out of this world.”
Frederick loses three players to graduation.
“We knew we were going to be a pretty good team,” Conway said. “We had a really good summer last year. It had to come together, and it kinda did. We’ve got a lot of kids in the pipeline, and we have a loaded junior class. We expect to be back here. It’s not going to be easy. This experience is going to help our underclassmen.”
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