Clear Creek boys hoops ends season in regionals

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By Alissa Noe

Going into a year with a new coach and the loss of two key seniors, the Clear Creek boys basketball team faced great uncertainty about how this season would pan out.

With a 66-49 loss to Fowler in the 2A Region 8 tournament on Friday night at Vail Christian, it all came to an end. But the Golddiggers still managed to finish with a winning record, 12-11, under first-year Clear Creek coach Scott Haebe.

For senior standout Lucas Gerding, the heightened win percentage was all that mattered. After all, most of the team consisted of sophomores with just four seniors.

“We love Coach Haebe,” Gerding said. “We bought into what he was doing; it just took us a while to get used to what it was that he wanted to do. Once we got used to it, that’s when we were able to go on that winning stretch halfway through the season.”

Throughout the first chunk of their schedule, the Golddiggers struggled with consistency but managed to stay competitive amid tough competition. After their Highland loss on Jan. 24, they held a 4-7 record.

“We were the only team to have played 11 games against other teams that are still in the state tournament,” assistant coach Jon Walker said. “There are nine teams still in the state tournament, and we played 11 games against them, so we had a hard schedule.”

Once Clear Creek really hit Mile High League play, then it started rolling.

After the Highland loss, the boys got hot and truly began clicking with Haebe’s system. They won five straight, including a 70-26 beat down of Denver Academy. The Diggers relied on the talents of their underclassmen, namely Ben Griffin, Seattle Schuessler and Reese Onago.

That all led to the district tournament, where the Diggers took down Burlington 61-50 on Feb. 20 to ensure they would play in regionals.

Although the Vail Christian tournament may not have turned out the way they hoped, they still proved themselves worthy to compete at the highest levels of the Mile High League and 2A basketball.

Gerding won’t be returning, but he believes the future is bright for this young Golddigger squad.

“Not having a winning season was definitely one of my concerns just because we had such a young core,” he said.

“With a brand new coach, there can kind of be a rough patch during the transition period, so that was definitely something I was concerned about. I’m happy that we were able to pull out with a winning record.”