Mesa Ridge flashes depth to hold off Widefield in boys' basketball

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Photo - Mesa Ridge's Caleb Stewart (center) is defended by Widefield's Lucas Lacy (left) and Widefield's Daz Rodgers as he goes in for a shot on the basket during the first quarter of a game at Widefield High School on Tuesday, January 10, 2017. Mesa Ridge won the game 75-70. JERILEE BENNETT, THE GAZETTE
Mesa Ridge's Caleb Stewart (center) is defended by Widefield's Lucas Lacy (left) and Widefield's Daz Rodgers as he goes in for a shot on the basket during the first quarter of a game at Widefield High School on Tuesday, January 10, 2017. Mesa Ridge won the game 75-70. JERILEE BENNETT, THE GAZETTE

The Mesa Ridge boys' basketball team is deep, and so were a lot of the shots the Grizzlies players hit Tuesday night.

In a 75-70 road win over 4A Colorado Springs Metro rival Widefield, Mesa Ridge showed why it can be one of the most dangerous teams in the city - and maybe the state.

On a night when the team's top scorer, Dalen Jackson, only scored three points, his teammates picked up the slack.

"I think our bench really is the deepest in all of 4A right now," Mesa Ridge coach Paul Mileto said. "I have kids on that bench who could start pretty much anywhere in the city. Every day in practice the competition builds, and it's made us a very deep team."

In addition to Jackson only scoring three points, Mesa Ridge's third-leading scorer, Dylan Mileto, was saddled with foul trouble all game, tallying just eight points.

Deven Nelson and Caleb Stewart had their teammates' backs, pouring in 19 and 14 points, respectively. Add a few big 3-pointers by Adonis Wallace and contributions from DJ King and Dalton Bishop, and the Grizzlies (6-3, 2-0) didn't miss a beat.

"We all trust each other, and we feed the hot hand," Nelson said. "We need to take better shots and play better defense at the end of games, but it was a solid team win. Right now, with our depth and the way we're playing, we can beat any team in our conference - and the state."

Mesa Ridge lost its first two games of the season to 5A Cherokee Trail and Lakewood. Aside from a setback against Pueblo South, the Grizzlies are unbeaten in 4A play and have shown themselves to be one of the favorites to win the league.

The game Tuesday night featured two teams which like to run up and down the court and play an aggressive brand of basketball. That suited Mesa Ridge just fine, as it ran out to a 41-32 halftime lead. The Grizzlies expanded it to 64-48 by the end of the third quarter.

"We like to go fast and get the ball up the court and score a lot," Stewart said. "We all work together well, and this win is a bit sweeter than most because there's a lot of back-and-forth talk between the two schools."

Widefield (4-5, 0-2) mounted a furious comeback late, cutting the lead to four at one point. However, the rally fell short, leaving the Gladiators searching for their first league win.

Not to be lost in the defeat was a huge game from TJ Davis. The junior scored a game-high 28 points and was the main reason his team was close at the end.

"We have to just keep bouncing back every day at practice and working to get better," said Davis, who's also a star quarterback on the football team. "We need to clean up our help defense and a few other things, but we'll be good. They played together as a team and had some players step up, and they deserved this win tonight."