In the final minute of Doherty's wild ride to victory over Rampart, Doherty senior star Brevin Brimble was standing in front of the Rampart bench, enjoying a brief conversation with the team he had vanquished.
Rampart players were "mocking" him, Brimble said. Nothing too ugly.
"They were talking a little bit," Brimble said, "and I was just kidding with them talking back."
As the conversation escalated, Brimble offered a closing remark.
"You can come out here and get a 30-piece, too, if you want to," Brimble said.
After that, silence from the Rampart bench.
Getting a 30-piece, for those who didn't know, is scoring more than 30 points. Brimble almost scored 30 in the first half, settling for 29 after missing a layup in the final seconds. He finished with 34 for the night, leading Doherty to a 79-74 victory.
Doherty rises to 17-3 and 10-0 in the Metro League. Rampart falls to 15-6 and 7-3.
Both teams made big statements. In the first half, Doherty's Spartans roared to a 51-29 lead, looked ready to drop a 30-plus loss on Rampart's Rams and hinted once again that they boast the might to rule 5A this season.
Brimble ended his first-half show by dropping consecutive 28-foot 3-pointers. The Rams were reeling.
But in the second half, it was Rampart's turn to make a statement.
The Rams awoke behind Jackson Ehrlin and placed a severe scare into the hearts of Doherty players and fans. Rampart employed a triangle-and-two defense that finally slowed down Brimble. Midway through the fourth quarter, Rampart's 6-foot-11 center Dawson Cooper scored on a follow shot, cutting Doherty's lead to 60-58.
Rampart students were shouting, and Doherty fans were silent. A comeback for the ages seemed possible.
But Doherty is a polished team. The Spartans already had invaded Denver East's gym this week and escaped with a victory. After being threatened, Doherty regained its senses, dropped its free throws and cruised to victory.
"We made a huge statement," Brimble said of the wins over Denver East and Rampart. "I think we can go all the way. We're getting better and better every day."
Doherty coach Jarris Krapcha was worried his Spartans would get distracted by the win over Denver East, ranked No. 8 in the state by CHSAA. At practice on Wednesday, he told his players he didn't want to hear anything, not a word, about the East victory. It was time, he said, to focus on Rampart.
The Spartans obeyed.
Rampart still is finding its way, but the Rams have the height and the fire required to make noise in the state tournament. Ehrlin, a 6-foot-8 senior, was quiet in the first half, but used his muscle and shooting touch to lead the Rams revival in the third quarter. He finished with 26 points.
On Tuesday's win over Liberty, Ehrlin scored 49 points, utterly dominating the night. When Rampart guards can find him in the post, Ehrlin can score on anybody.
The Rams have lost two thrillers to Doherty this season.
Don't be surprised if there's a third game, this time when it matters most in the state tournament.