Bye-bye, varsity jitters.
Entering this season, no one on the Sand Creek boys’ basketball roster truly experienced the sport at the highest prep level. So, the Scorpions knew going in that Thursday night’s home game against Thornton was more than a season opener.
It was more like an audition to see if they're ready.
And though they weren’t perfect, the Scorpions handled the pressure in a convincing 76-52 win, thanks to five players scoring in double figures and seven 3-pointers. Junior Marcus Gouty scored all but two of his 18 points in the second half, while junior Jevaughn Williams had 13. Both sophomore Markus Ramirez and senior Kenan Thompson finished with 11.
The Scorpions (1-0) were relentless on both offense and defense, jumping out to a 13-6 first-quarter lead and holding the Trojans to two single-digit quarters. They proved early on that the jitters were nonexistent.
Sand Creek coach Rob Hawkins was anxious to see how his team would play outside of practice. He knew the players were quick and athletic but lacked varsity experience, considering 10 seniors graduated from last season’s team — which advanced to the third round of Class 4A state tournament after getting a first-round bye.
“I don’t know what to expect,” the coach said. “I know what I get in practice. But obviously in practice is not the same as a game with a crowd and their moms in the stands. We didn’t play as well as we play in practice, which was what I was expecting. But for us to come out with a win, I was happy to get it.”
The Scorpions were up 34-21 at halftime before exploding for several runs.
In the second half, Sand Creek was unstoppable. Gouty went on a scoring tear as the Scorpions expanded their lead to 28 points and held the Trojans to just one field goal in the third quarter.
Senior point guard Ricky Poole led Thornton with 19 points.
Despite the inexperience, the Scorpions are hopeful.
“We had to come out and get a good first game to set a tone for the season,” senior guard Brandon Galvan said.