WHEAT RIDGE - Like the Knickerbockers Willis Reed in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals, Ryan Girtin came off the bench for Wheat Ridge and sparked their 75-47 blowout victory over Conifer Friday at Wheat Ridge High School.
While that may be a little dramatic, it certainly was shocking to see the Wheaty senior in action. Six weeks ago he was told that his high school playing career was over after he suffered a knee injury in practice after Christmas break.
However, Girtin got a second opinion on his knee and despite a torn meniscus and patella tendon, the doctor said he can put off surgery and play the rest of the season.
“Not only do I feel good but our team is on fire right now. I think we can beat anyone,” Girtin said.
Girtin scored 19 points and hit four three pointers never allowing Conifer to get into the game, and out of nowhere the Farmers have won three of their past four games.
Girtin, along with senior Noah Brookman’s 14 points fuelled Wheat Ridge’s highest offensive output of the season.
“I just wish there was a little more season left because I think we could get back to .500. But the goal is to win out and makes the playoffs,” Girtin said.
The usually slow starting Farmers jumped all over Conifer early, outscoring them 21-11 in the first quarter. Conifer would try to chip away a Wheat Ridge’s lead but the Farmers would again get off to a quick start early in the second half behind Girtan and Brookman’s excellent guard play.
“We have been such slow starters all season long it feels good to get on top early and not let up. Our defense helped set up a lot of easy buckets,” Brookman said.
After Conifer finally started to slow the Farmers’ guards down, that opened up the paint for junior Stefan Hackethal who started to go to work inside. Hackethal’s 13 points were the perfect complement for a Wheat Ridge team that go their most complete win of the season.
And all of the sudden, Wheat Ridge is playing as good of basketball as any team in 4A Jeffco not named D’Evelyn or Golden.
The Farmers (6-13, 5-5) will host Alameda Friday at 7 p.m., in what will be a critically important 4A Jeffco league meeting for