Wheat Ridge — The old Jeffco rivalry between Lakewood and Wheat Ridge is alive and well.
Lakewood junior guard Julian Durand said, “It’s a rivalry game and everyone wants it.” it was us
Lakewood won the road 55-49 in the men’s basketball game at The Barn over the Farmers. Duran and his fellow junior Sam Silverburn led the way to the Tigers (5-4 record). The two led the way to victory for Lakewood with a combined 33 points before heading into the winter break.
“That kid, we challenged him,” Lakewood coach Darryl Johnson said of Silbern. “He’s a multisport athlete and a Swiss arm knife when it comes to sports. We asked Sam to give us what we needed and he did it tonight.”
Silvern scored a team-high 17 points, and his work on the inside produced some easy buckets, complementing Durán’s speed in attacking the basket.
“I wanted to win for the team,” Duran said. ‘I was willing to do anything to win’
Duran sliced through the Wheatridge defense with some nifty drives to the basket. His 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter and his layup driving in the final minutes afterward helped the Farmers not erase his 13-point lead after the first quarter. It was helpful.
“Our kids were more focused on offense than defense,” Johnson said after the Tigers jumped to a 13-point lead after the first quarter. Wheat Ridge started scoring from the foul line, which is why they caught up.”
Wheatridge’s brothers Sam and Isaac McCune both lost by 17 points, but after a struggling first quarter, the Farmers came close but couldn’t take the lead.
Wheatridge director Vince Dowd said, “That’s been our problem all year and we’re off to a slow start.” I think this match will help us in the end.”
Wheatridge (1-6) cut the Tigers’ lead to four points several times in the fourth quarter, but Lakewood was able to answer. Junior Brandon Bazan Torres made his play three points on a layup and foul with 1:30 remaining and he pushed the Tigers’ lead to 52–46.
“I’m lucky to be out of this rivalry,” Johnson said after Lakewood crossed . “It wasn’t the best game.”
Lakewood will play a few more non-league games against Pomona and Monarch the week after the winter break before jumping into the Class 6A Jeffco League schedule. The newly formed conference features No. 3 Valor Christian and No. 7 Ralston Valley.
“We have a big chip on our shoulders,” Duran said of the upcoming league schedule. “We’ve been sharpening, sharpening, and sharpening nonstop. The team can sleep in Lakewood if they want, but when they’re on the floor, they do their best.”
Johnson has admitted that he doesn’t like the home-and-away format of the newly formed 6A Jeffco League. Johnson said he would rather have a conference tournament after the season and play one with each team during league play rather than have a 12-game league schedule in a seven-team league.
Wheatridge has one final game before the New Year. Farmers will host Ponderosa on Tuesday, December 20th.
Dowd said there were some positive signs in the loss as Farmers fought back after being trailed by double digits early on.
“We didn’t put together the whole game,” says Dowd. “We are working on it.”