LAKEWOOD - Styles make fights and last Wednesday night’s meeting between Golden and Alameda was a matchup of two teams who do two very different things.
Golden is a grind out, play-in-the-paint, physical-type team and Alameda, though they shoot the ball as well as any team in Jeffco, lives and dies by the three point shot.
And with their playoff hopes already on life-support the Demons beat the Pirates 67-45 at Alameda High School.
After a very tightly played first half, Golden’s offense erupted in the third quarter. Behind the hot hand of senior Austin Richard the Demons outscored Alameda 27-12 in the quarter, seemingly sucking the life out of the Pirates. Richard scored a game-high 22 points.
“We struggled to score the ball sometimes we need to create as many extra possessions as possible with our physical defense,” Golden coach John Anderson said. “We came out in the third quarter and got some easy buckets and never looked back.”
In Alameda’s defense, the game could have gone either way. No team led by more than three points in first half as both teams traded punches.
But Alameda was eventually knocked out by Golden’s physical play and the Pirates had no answers despite 14 points from senior Nyang Reat.
“We lost it in the paint. We went away from what was working. We have to learn to understand when we fall behind to settle down and slow it down,” Alameda coach Rex Terry said.
Alameda would try to regroup in the fourth quarter but they had dug themselves too big of a hole and now they will need a mini-miracle to make the playoffs.
“We always start off slow and we need to learn to realize that we can’t take plays off and we need to play hard for all four quarters,” Reat said.
Golden on the other hand is hitting on all cylinders and have turned into a force in 4A Jeffco. The Demons have now won eight of their last nine games.
Moreover, they are one of the more physical teams in the league, they also shoot the ball from the perimeter with seniors like Nolan Holmes, Tyler Olson, Even Hanggi, Cole Finnegan and Scott Lubkeman.
“We have continued to get better and better as the season has gone on, and we are still getting better,” Holmes said. “We feel like we can beat you in a lot of different ways.”
Slowly but surely Golden has turned into the hottest team in Jeffco - no offense D’Evelyn.
On the other hand, despite their strong start to the season the Pirates have not been able to maintain their high level of play and have struggled since getting into league play.
That is partially due to the quality of 4A Jeffco and partially because Alameda is a young team in transition. And while they will lose some quality players to graduation, next season might be the season when the Pirates become a force in their tough league.
But at this point Alameda (7-12, 3-7) will have to win out if they expect to qualify for the playoffs, and even if they do win out it might not be enough. That challenge starts Friday night when they play at Wheat Ridge at 7 p.m.
Golden (13-6, 8-2) will play at Evergreen Thursday at 7 p.m.