Golddiggers’ upset bid comes up short

A late Denver Christian 3-pointer spoils Clear Creek’s chance at victory

Michael Hicks
mhicks@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 2/24/21

This time there was no 8-plus minute cold spell. There was no 18-0 run by Denver Christian like there was two weeks earlier. Quite the contrary. Arguably, Clear Creek did everything that it …

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Golddiggers’ upset bid comes up short

A late Denver Christian 3-pointer spoils Clear Creek’s chance at victory

Posted

This time there was no 8-plus minute cold spell. There was no 18-0 run by Denver Christian like there was two weeks earlier.

Quite the contrary.

Arguably, Clear Creek did everything that it could’ve hoped for. The Golddiggers limited fouls, didn’t allow the Thunder to go on an extended scoring run of more than five points, and kept Denver Christian within striking distance throughout Saturday’s boys’ basketball game at Clear Creek High School.

Unfortunately, it still wasn’t quite enough as the fourth-ranked Thunder escaped with a battled-tested 50-46 victory to win for the sixth straight time in the series.

Henry Vandenberg overcame early foul trouble to score a game-high 17 points and Ben Buhler added 13 for Denver Christian (7-1). All that said, Clear Creek (5-4), despite losing for the third time in four games, came away feeling victory was within its grasp.

“I thought it was a great effort by our team. There’s absolutely no doubt about it,” Clear Creek head coach Scott Haebe said. “I thought we played really well defensively. … I thought we did a good job on the boards in the second half. I think with our pressure against a team like that we did a really good job. I was really proud of how we got back into the game.”

CCHS never trailed by more than seven points, including 45-38 with 5 minutes, 34 seconds remaining before going on an 8-0 run to take a 46-45 lead. However, that would be the final time the Diggers would score.

The game, just like two nights earlier against Lotus School for Excellence, was a replacement for the Diggers who were to have faced Lyons on Saturday, but the Lions were placed in quarantine due to COVID-19 protocols. Thus, a rematch with Denver Christian was scheduled.

Clear Creek, which never led by more than three points, came out motivated, especially after a 48-39 loss to Lotus School.

“We needed to have a fire in us and keep playing hard the whole game,” said senior Reese Onago, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half. “I think we all took that mindset and put all of our effort in for all four quarters. We didn’t have a bad quarter against Denver Christian, and that’s exactly how we needed to play against them.”

Four points each from Onago and fellow senior Seattle Schuessler, who led the Diggers with 16 points, catapulted the Diggers to that late one-point lead before Buhler buried a clutch 3-pointer with 1:22 remaining for the eventual game-winning points.

“They got the guy who they wanted shooting the ball at the end,” Schuessler said.

But the Diggers were far from holding their heads down despite the outcome. If anything, they recognized why this showdown was far different than their previous encounter.

“(It was) offensive consistency,” Schuessler said. “We’re not consistent on the offensive end. That showed against Heritage. That showed against Denver Christian the first time. That showed against Lotus the other night. I can give you a two-point second quarter, a three-point second quarter, a 1-for-15 3-point shooting (effort), 5-for-20 on layup opportunities. This time, it was all-around. We had good offensive consistency throughout the game.”

Almost good enough to derail the No. 4 team in the state. Almost.

Freshman Colin Hendrickson added eight points for Clear Creek.

“Other than not coming out with a win, I thought it was a great day for us,” Haebe said.

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