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Rock Canyon coach Kent Grams talked to his boys basketball team after the Jaguars' 47-41 overtime semifinal loss to George Washington in the Class 5A state playoffs on March 9 at the Denver Coliseum.
Grams, however, doesn't believe his comments had much of an immediate impact.
“It was a heck of a season,” said Grams. “I told our guys it hurts now and I can't do anything about it. My words were just words to them.
“It won't mean anything to them until later, but I couldn't be more proud of them. You see our fans and what the basketball team has built.”
Rock Canyon ended the season with a 24-3 record after a close semifinal loss for the second straight season.
Last year Eaglecrest's Josh Walton missed the first of two free throws with 0.8 seconds to play but swished the second to give the Raptors a 61-60 overtime victory.
It was almost the same situation when George Washington's Devon Jones couldn't connect on the first of two free throws with 1.6 seconds remaining in regulation with Rock Canyon holding a 36-35 lead.
Jones made the second free throw to send the game into overtime and the Patriots went 9-for-10 at the free throw line in the extra session to pull out the victory. George Washington was 16-of-24 from the free throw line compared to 6-of-9 for the Jaguars.
“There was a big discrepancy there,” said Grams. “They did a good job of sitting back in our zone and we couldn't attack the rim. They had a rim protector and they did a good job of making us take poor shots.”
Neither team shot well. George Washington shot 31.8 percent from the floor for the game and made just two field goals in the final 12 minutes of the game. The winners were 14-of-18 at the foul line during the fourth quarter and overtime.
Rock Canyon shot 33.3 percent and had seven shots blocked.
“We had a hard time of getting Sam Masten going and Tyson (Gilbert),” added Grams. “In the second half I knew our guy were going to compete.”
Masten, the 6-foot-3 senior who was one of the state's top 5A scorers with a 22.5 average, finished with 12 points and six rebounds. Gilbert, a 6-2 senior who missed part of the third quarter after undergoing concussion protocol, led Rock Canyon with 17 points and had six rebounds.
“It was weird ,” Grams said. “Tyson was getting evaluated for a concussion at halftime. But it happened so late we really didn't know what was going on. And then he didn't show up at the start of the third quarter. Sam asked me, 'Where's Tyson?' I said, 'I have no idea.' But he came back and was OK.”
Gilbert scored Rock Canyon's last six points in the fourth quarter and two in overtime.
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