Wheat Ridge seniors lead in first round state tourney win

Farmers foiled in second round though

Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 3/6/20

WHEAT RIDGE — Wheat Ridge senior Dominic Bronk played in his 82nd varsity boys basketball games in a Farmers’ uniform Feb. 26. “Taking this jersey off is going to be the hardest thing …

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Wheat Ridge seniors lead in first round state tourney win

Farmers foiled in second round though

Posted

WHEAT RIDGE — Wheat Ridge senior Dominic Bronk played in his 82nd varsity boys basketball games in a Farmers’ uniform Feb. 26.

“Taking this jersey off is going to be the hardest thing possible,” Bronk said about his basketball career nearing its end at Wheat Ridge. “I’m happy I came to Wheat Ridge. It was the best four years I could ask for.”

Bronk — who averaged a double-double in points and rebounds — played his 83rd and final game in a basketball jersey when the No. 27-seeded Farmers hit to road and suffered a 58-48 loss to No. 6 Skyline on Feb. 29.

Wheat Ridge (14-11 record) got the first-round playoff victory over Canon City. The Farmers got out to a 25-point lead in the — 58-33 — with 2:52 left in the third quarter. However, Canon City went on a 12-0 run to make things interesting.

“I thought we played a great first half. It was hard to keep them interested in the second half,” Wheat Ridge coach Tommy Dowd said. “That’s high school basketball. Kids aren’t going to match that same intensity when they think they have it put away. Give it to Canon City. They played hard and didn’t roll over.”

Juniors Josh Rall, Seth Newton and Gavin Garrett combined for 55 points for the No. 38 seed Tigers. Canon City cut Wheat Ridge’s lead to as few as seven points a couple of times in the fourth quarter.

“We were up by like 25 points and then I look up and we’re only up by 9. Where did the lead go,” Wheat Ridge senior Alex Morales said. “We just had to hang on and luckily we did.”

Bronk and Morales — Wheat Ridge’s lone seniors — played their final home game. They finished in style. Bronk finished with a game-high 26 points.

“I don’t know anybody who has more experience,” Dowd said of Bronk. “He is never nervous. In the huddle he is calming everyone down. He is our guy.”

Morales poured in 23 points, including 10 points in the final quarter.

“I think my coach put me in this position for a reason,” Morales said. “I wanted to play my heart out playing my last game in this gym as a senior. I’m glad we got the W.”

Juniors Dominic Cross (11 points) and Wes Miller (10 points) were the other two Farmers to finish in double-digits. Cross went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final minutes to help seal the win.

“All you have to do is get out of here,” Dowd said of the win. “It doesn’t matter what the score is. You just try to get to the next game.”

Wheat Ridge had a historic 2018-19 campaign that yielded a conference title. However, the Farmers had a quick exit from the state tournament. Thomas Jefferson took an overtime victory over Wheat Ridge in the second round after the Farmers drew a first-round bye.

The Farmers loss against Skyline on Feb. 29 ended the team’s season in the second round of the playoffs for the second year in a row.

“It just didn’t work out in our favor last year,” said Bronk, who will play baseball for the Farmers this spring. “That’s basketball. That’s sports. That’s life. You have to just flush it and go.”

Dennis Pleuss is a media specialist for Jeffco Public Schools with a focus on athletics and activities. For more Jeffco coverage, go online at CHSAANow.com

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