A Cinderella Season

In 1969-70 Denver Christian School was a small, independent school priding itself on its faith-based mission of being “in the world, not of it.”  But Denver Christian School athletics had a reputation for strong, competitive basketball; we liked beating our competitors and at this point in time Denver Christian basketball had posted only one losing season in 18 years!

But without a football program, Denver Christian School couldn’t join a league and thus couldn’t qualify for tournament play — in any sport!

Until 1969 that is.

A New Opportunity

That year DCHS launched its first football team, was admitted into the Metro League, and for the first time in history its teams were eligible to play in state tournaments.

Early in that season, Coach Katte showed our team an article from a local paper picking us to take the Metro League title and suggesting we were one of strongest teams in the AA Division.  Then he told us to put that article away and not take it out until after the season was over.  Because there was at least one big obstacle to a championship: Brush and their 6’8” two time All-State, widely-recruited senior, Brendy Lee.

Brush had taken the AA state championship the two previous years and was considered a strong favorite to take it again.

A Disappointing Setback

Well, Dick Katte, in a rather prescient move, invited Brush to play the third game of the season in our gym where DC had a 41 home game winning streak. Brush promptly ended that streak, beating us by 18

points and effectively putting our little upstart school in its place.  Humbled by the reigning state champions.

It turned out to be our only loss that year.

We went undefeated through the rest of our schedule, fast breaking, pressing, and playing Katte’s tenacious brand of defense. We wrapped up the Metro League title and, for the first time, made it into the state tournament, something DC players had craved for years. Now we were there.  So was Brush.  Confident though a bit nervous, we beat Crow County comfortably (69-49) in Game 1, then squeaked by a tough team from Lake County in Game 2 (66-59).

That put us in the championship game.

The Final Showdown

But who was waiting for us in the championship game?  You guessed it – undefeated Brush with their superstar, Brendy Lee, and a 36 game winning streak.  The reigning champions and our nemesis from earlier in the season.

Some of us secretly wondered if our run was about to end at the hands of Brush – again.  At the start of the game we were a bit shaky, but the ball managed to find the basket and with a couple of minutes left in the half we lead 31-22. Unfortunately, Brush closed  strong and the half ended tied 34-34.

But we had discovered we could not only play with Brush, we realized we could even OUT-play them.  We moved out ahead again in the second half but they tied it up at 44-44.  However, from that point our defense and fast break took over, the depth of our bench kept delivering, Brendy Lee fouled out, and – voila! – we sent undefeated, two-time state champion Brush home with a 13 point defeat, 62-49, breaking their 36-game winning streak!

Denver Christian was the 1970 AA State Basketball Champion, and delivered Denver Christian athletics their first EVER state championship title!

In sum, we unseated the perennial AA power, avenged our one loss to the reigning state champions by beating them in the championship game, broke their 36-game winning streak, finished the season 20-1, and took home the 1970 state title the first year Denver Christian School athletic teams were eligible to compete in state championship tournaments.

— by Ron Bosch, #31, 1970 championship team

Honoring the Cinderella season

We’re honoring the 1970 basketball team at the Alumni Game on January 31, 2020 and invite YOU to join us for a celebration of the team that brought Denver Christian School its first (of many!) state championship titles, and the boys and girls basketball teams currently representing Denver Christian School!

We’re eager to welcome our alumni to join our current Denver Christian School families with free admission to the basketball games and a fabulous night celebrating with the Denver Christian School family.  Concessions will be available for all, and we’re inviting all alumni to the academic commons for free food from 4:30-7:00.  JV games start at 4:00, girls varsity tips off at 5:30, and boys varsity at 7 p.m.

We started celebrating a bit early, in fact, by welcoming a member of the 1970 team back to school and back to the court (click the link or the picture to see the video).  If a 1970 basketball Dream-Teamer-who-captured-DCS’-first-EVER-(in any sport)-state-championship-title can make it (not just to school, but into a uniform!), then we hope YOU can certainly make it to Alumni Night too!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram, where we’ll be sharing some fun posts leading up to the Alumni Night game!

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