D'Evelyn Boys Basketball Playoff Game v. Frederick

Buzzer-beater sends Frederick boys to Elite 8
Posted on 03/02/2022
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Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Sports Information

FREDERICK — It was a layup that will be remembered for years to come in the town of Frederick.

Senior Jacoby Conway flipped in a reverse layup at the buzzer Wednesday night to punch the Warriors’ ticket to the quarterfinals of the Class 4A boys basketball state tournament. No. 6-seeded Frederick defeated No. 11 D’Evelyn 67-65.

“We have that play for special occasions like that,” Frederick senior Alex Sturn said. “We don’t run it as often as we should, but when we need a bucket we go to that play. There is a lot of movement and a lot of options. Normally what happens we get someone freed up right at the end.”

The Warriors and Jaguars were tied 65-65 with 3.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Frederick was inbounding the ball from underneath D’Evelyn’s basket. Fredrick coach Jeff Conway called a timeout to make sure his players were all on the same page. Coach Conway’s son was definitely confident about the inbound play.

“Honestly, we knew what play we were running before we took the timeout,” Conway said. “I thought we should save the timeout and just run it. We knew what play we were running the whole time.”

Junior Luke Justice threw the inbound pass deep to the 3-point line to Sturn. Justice and Conway cross each other on the baseline and two D’Evelyn defenders went with Justice toward the corner. Conway was wide-open under the basket for the layup.

“I was waiting for it to develop and I was worried about the clock. I didn’t want it to expire,” Sturn said. “I was waiting, waiting and waiting. If it wasn’t there I was just going to take the shot. Right before I took the shot I saw it free up. It was the easiest pass of my life, but I didn’t want to miss that one.”

Sturn didn’t miss the pass and Conway didn’t miss the layup. Frederick’s student section stormed the court after the buzzer sounded giving the Warriors the 2-point win and berth into the Elite 8.

“The way the play was set up it worked great,” Conway said. “It was a flawless play.”

Frederick hits the road to face No. 3 Mead in the state quarterfinals on Saturday, March 5. The bitter rivals faced each other just before the state tournament. The Mavericks took a 62-53 victory on Feb. 19.

“This is what we wanted,” Conway said of the rematch against Mead. “They beat us the first time, but we are going to get some revenge at their house. It would be better to beat them at their house anyways.”

The Warriors had three players — senior Bryce Conniver (14 points), Justice (10 points) and Sturn (16 points) — score in double-digits. Frederick led 24-12 early in the second quarter, but the veteran-ladened Jaguars battled back in the second half.

“There whole starting five was seniors,” Sturn said of D’Evelyn. “When you are that old you are experienced. It was all their last game. We knew they were going to fight back.”

Senior Max Grant led the way for D’Evelyn scoring a game-high 21 points. Grant gave the spark and junior Elijah Gusmus (17 points) made a pair of 3-pointers in the second-half rally.

“I’m proud of this team,” D’Evelyn coach Will Gosch said. “We fought all year long.”

The 4A Jeffco League champs actually grabbed a 59-54 lead midway through the fourth quarter, but a pair of charging calls late against the Jaguars hurt. It didn’t help matters that seniors Bodhi Anderson (11 points) and Troy Benko (eight points) both fouled out seconds apart with about 2 minutes remaining.

“Frederick does a good job,” Gosch said. “They speed you up and then just when you think you got them, they are going to get a charge or make a nice defensive play.”

D’Evelyn finished its season with a 18-6 record and a second straight trip to the Sweet 16 of the state tournament.

“We lost to the No. 6 team in the state at their place,” Gosch said. “We had a chance to win it in the end and it didn’t happen. It was a 50-50 type game and it didn’t go our way.”

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