DENVER – The Alamosa and Bayfield boys basketball teams split their four games this season 2-2. Bayfield won the two that mattered.
The Wolverines topped the Mean Moose for the 3A Intermountain League title last month, then ended Alamosa’s season with a 43-38 victory in the Class 3A state quarterfinals Thursday in Hamilton Gymnasium on the University of Denver campus.
“We were pumped up coming into this game,” Bayfield’s Ryan Phelps said. “We were all really nervous, but we got some momentum going into halftime.”
Phelps was the dominant force for the Wolverines. He didn’t have a great shooting night and made only two field goals, but he went 6-for-9 at the free-throw line, including two that clinched the victory, for 10 points and dominated on the boards with 16 rebounds, six of which came on the offensive end, and blocked five shots.
“It was nothing new,” BHS head coach Jeff Lehnus said of Phelps. “I mean that in the ultimate compliment. He’s going to work his butt off, he’s a winner, he cares about the team first and is going to give everything he’s got.”
It was a good start for the Wolverines.
After Phelps won the opening tip, Farmer drained a 3-pointer from the left wing on Bayfield’s first possession.
While Farmer got the No. 7 Wolverines (17-7) started, he couldn’t do much more to help his team in the first half, as he was whistled for two quick fouls and spent most of the half on the bench.
“It was rough,” Farmer said of having to watch the first half from the bench. “Everyone hates getting into foul trouble, especially as a scorer because I couldn’t be out there to help my team.”
Bayfield’s defense held the second-seeded Mean Moose (20-4) without a field goal for the opening 7 minutes, 30 seconds and had a 12-5 lead after the first quarter.
”That was 100 percent Bayfield’s defense,” Alamosa head coach Brandon Brubacher said of the first quarter. “They played physical and kept us out of rhythm for most of the game. That was all Bayfield’s defense.”
Alamosa responded with a few 3s to get within two points at 18-16 with 3:24 remaining before halftime, but Bayfield closed with the final five points of the second quarter for a 23-16 halftime lead.
The Mean Moose started strong in the second half and went on an 8-0 run to take a 24-23 lead with 5:51 remaining in the third quarter.
It was the first and last lead for the Mean Moose, and it didn’t last long.
Farmer drew a foul and converted both free throws on Bayfield’s next possession to make it 25-24.
The game stayed close the rest of the quarter and Bayfield took a 31-30 lead into the fourth quarter.
Bayfield pushed its lead to 40-35 when Farmer converted an old-fashioned 3-point play with a little more than three minutes remaining.
Alamosa got back within one possession and trailed 40-38 with less than a minute remaining. But Phelps came up with a steal and drew a foul with 32 seconds to go. He made 1-of-2 from the foul line to keep Alamosa’s hopes alive.
The Mean Moose got a contested look from 3 that hit off the front of the rim. Phelps skied for the rebound, was fouled immediately and made both free throws to put the game away.
Farmer led Bayfield with 13 points, and Keyon Prior and Dax Snooks both finished with eight points.
Ry Adams led Alamosa with 16 points and was 4-of-9 from behind the 3-point line.
Bayfield will face No. 6 Faith Christian (19-6) in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Hamilton Gymnasium.
“I think we’re going to come out and play a great game now that we got rid of the nerves and know the gym a little bit,” Farmer said. “Faith Christian, we played them in the summer and we know they’re a good team, but I know we can go out there and compete and that’s what we’re going to do.”