DENVER - The Thornton boys basketball team had its season come to a disappointing end in the opening round of the Class 5A state basketball playoffs.
The Trojans fell behind early and couldn’t recover, before losing on the road to Liberty High School on Feb. 27, 68-43.
The two squads traded opening baskets, but the Lancers scored the next 16 points and held an 18-4 advantage after the opening quarter. After that the Trojans were forced to play catch up.
“It wasn’t how we wanted to finish the season, but I’m proud of the kids they never gave up,” Thornton coach Sercan Fenerci said.
The Trojans struggled to stay with the much bigger Lancers, who provided threats in the post and on the perimeter.
Junior AJ Bohuslavsky carved up Thornton for 19 points, draining four treys in the game. He even scored eight of the Lancers’ first 10 points. While the Trojans struggled to stop Bohuslavsky, 6-foot-6 Mike Ende was giving Thornton’s offense fits. Ende had a block and nine rebounds, while the Trojans only shot 28 percent from field.
Liberty held a 34-14 lead at the half, and Thornton got within 16 after back-to-back baskets by Daezionte Henderson. However, the Lancers closed the third quarter on a 12-2 run.
Donovan Gomez-Onofre led the Trojans with 12 points, while Henderson chipped in 11.
Gomez-Onofre is one of nine seniors on the squad, which finished the season with a perfect 11-0 record at home. Also graduating is the Trojans’ leading scorer Samuel Shumate, as well as Romeo Brewer, Isaiah Hardy, Aaron Gonzalez, Fernando Romero, Russell Willoughby, Nikola Denev and Daniel Talavera.
“They were a fun group to coach, we are going to miss them,” Fenerci said.
The Trojans finished the regular season third in the East Metro Athletic Conference with a 6-3 record in conference and an overall record of 14-10.
Horizon boys also dropped its first-round matchup to Dakota Ridge, falling 63-58 on Feb. 25.
The game remained close for the first three quarters, but the Eagles closed out the game by outscoring the Hawks 23-16 in the fourth.
Dillion Harshman and Dustin Rivas led the way for Horizon with 13 points each.
The Hawks finished the regular season 11-13 overall and 7-9 in the Front Range League. Horizon will also graduate a large group of seniors, 10 of the 12 players on the roster are seniors — including Harshman, who led the Hawks with 10.1 points a game. Rivas and Jake Ralphs, who are both seniors, each averaged 9.3 points
Senior Steven Sumey led the squad with 3.7 assists and 3.1 steals a game.
Also graduating for the Hawks are Jordan Gravage, Allen Erdmann, Chad David, Cody Ybarra, Chad Reffel and Erik Maki.