PUEBLO — Their legendary coach was gone, and so was their leading scorer. But the result was the same for Denver Christian: back-to-back Class 2A basketball championships over Limon.
Ray Van Heukelem picked up where Dick Katte left off on the bench and Alex Terpstra took over for Austin Lefebre as the on-court go-to player. Their leadership helped the Crusaders hold off a furious Limon comeback for a 53-49 victory Saturday night at Massari Gym on the CSU-Pueblo campus. The Crusaders won last year’s game 54-40.
Terpstra, a 6-foot-5 senior and the second-leading scorer in 2012 behind Lefebre, hit six clutch free throws down the stretch and Tate Kastens made the final two as the third-seeded Crusaders beat No. 5 Limon for the second time in two weeks in the rubber game of the season series.
Denver Christian (21-6) led 33-15 at halftime before the Badgers (24-2), 2A’s top-ranked team for most of the season until a March 2 loss to the Crusaders, rallied behind Chandler Dohe, Gavin Liggett and Toby Kropp.
The Badgers outscored the Crusaders 19-6 in the third quarter to pull within 39-34, then, after falling behind 42-34, got within one point, 50-49, inside the final half-minute on a 3-pointer by Kropp.
But every time Limon scored late in the game, Christian answered, first on a jumper by Jared VanDyke, then six straight free throws by Terpstra, the last two after Kropp’s trey. Kastens added the final two following a Badgers turnover.
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