In his second year as Mountain Range basketball coach, Jordan Carter led his group to a winning season at 13-11 and playoff berth despite falling to Hinkley 60-40 in the opening round, Feb. 26. With …
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In his second year as Mountain Range basketball coach, Jordan Carter led his group to a winning season at 13-11 and playoff berth despite falling to Hinkley 60-40 in the opening round, Feb. 26.
With his program on the rise, the foundation and expectations have been set of the seven seniors (Jaliek Baker, David De Aragon, Gavin Hardwick, Nate Bigelow, Jacob Dexter, Jon Mitchell, and Logan Dexter) vacating the group.
“Their impact on our program can’t be overstated,” Carter said after the contest of his seniors. “Coming off last year, we were only returning one starter and picked last in every preseason Front Range poll. These guys set the precedent. In August, we asked them to essentially come in 4-5 days a week, which was what my college schedule was when I was playing. That’s a lot to ask for a high school basketball team, and they all responded extremely well. There was great senior leadership as they were there every day, even in mornings, when none of us wanted to wake up and get there, but we were envisioning moments in the season that we were eventually able to have because of that hard work. We knew we had to out-work everybody, and I can’t thank our seniors enough. I’m so proud of them.”
Early on, it looked as if it was going to be the Mustangs’ night after a 7-1 lead three minutes and 36 seconds into the affair. Junior Connor Hindson scored all seven of those points as the next Mountain Range score didn’t come until there was 5:20 remaining in the second frame.
Scoring 14 unanswered between those Mustangs’ scores, Hinkley gained momentum and never gave it back to the home squad - eventually leading 27-19 at the break.
“We started off well. We finally had a decent start, and it seems like we completely sunk later on. We couldn’t buy a bucket tonight despite what I thought were some good looks,” Carter said. “Some of our guys that usually knock down open shots, they just weren’t falling, and that happens sometimes. We have to find ways to win when we are not shooting well, but credit to Hinkley, they played extremely hard. They kind of figured out how to attack us off the pick-and-roll, so I thought it was an uphill battle the rest of the game once we got down there at the beginning.”
A quick second-half push from MR cut the Thunderhawks’ lead to 33-26 three minutes into the third. However, it wasn’t enough, as Hinkley outscored the Mustangs the rest of the quarter, 14-2. The inside presence of senior Jeremiah Taylor proved too much for MR as the veteran tallied six points in the frame and 14 on the night.
Not much changed in favor of Mountain Range in the final quarter as time ran out on a special season in Westminster. A word, however, in progress can’t be overstated in sports, and to this team as they drastically improved after 4-19 mark a season ago.
“I’m proud of our guys. Not just tonight, but throughout the whole year. They have competed so hard, and it’s always tough when you have the end of a season. I’m extremely excited for the future. I feel like we have good pieces coming back and having experiences like tonight will only help us going forward after never experiencing anything like this prior to tonight. We also have young guys coming up that will be able to put in the same work, and it’s because these seniors have set the standard. When guys now enter the program, they will know what the expectation is from the start,” Carter said.
Hindson led the Mustangs with 16 points last Wednesday as junior Truman Chambers followed with 11. Chambers led MR with three assists and steals while junior Sirus Cannon led the group with seven rebounds.
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