ENGLEWOOD - Judging by the high number of three-point shots they threw up during the 2017-18 season's very first quarter on Friday, Dec. 1, one couldn't help but think the Kent Denver cagers were eager to show up the school they had expected to meet in the 2A State Football Championship.
The fact that only four of those treys fell before halftime nearly came back to haunt the Sun Devils. Visiting Bayfield, with all but three of its players barely six days removed from grabbing the gridiron grand prize, and another (junior forward Hayden Farmer) held out due to an ankle battered during the football season, wasn't backing down. Not in a battle of Class 3A's #3-ranked team hosting the #9.
Overcoming a 4:52 field-goal drought starting the second quarter, allowing KD to increase their 17-8 first-quarter lead to 26-8 before BHS senior guard Dax Snooks crashed through a defender for a hard layup with just 3:08 left before halftime, the Wolverines clawed back to as close as one point - on four occasions - during the final quarter before falling in controversial fashion, 52-49.
With Yates Pavilion hardly halfway full but still in full voice, Day 1 of Kent's eighth annual Herman Schayes Memorial came to an end when Bayfield senior center Ryan Phelps, who'd hustled in to rebound a missed Snooks three-point try, put up what would have been a tying trey as regulation expired.
Contact was clearly made on the attempt, but with no whistle sounding, the shot coldly rimmed out and BHS came up that short of potentially pulling off the upset in overtime.
As fate would have it, Bayfield indeed played into a fifth quarter the next afternoon.
But fate, being what it often is, again dealt the travelers a three-point defeat.
Climbing out of a 36-20 halftime hole on Day 2 to tie at 50-50 at the end of regulation, BHS dropped to 0-2 overall with a 59-56 OT loss to 3A Federal Heights The Pinnacle (2-0).
Phelps led the way against the Timberwolves with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Keyon Prior struck for 17 points and junior guard Turner Kennedy 12.
Phelps also paced Bayfield with 15 second-half points and 19 total against Kent Denver. The host team improved to 2-0 overall by routing 3A Colorado Springs St. Mary's 77-42 in the final Day 2 pairing.
Matched up against KD's 6'5" junior James Doyle, who led all players with his 20 points, BHS' big fella threw down two vicious two-hand slams, with the first following back-to-back treys by seniors Dawson and Carl Heide and emphatically capping a 10-0 burst, which brought the Wolverines back to 26-18 late in the second quarter.
Prior totaled 10 points against the Sun Devils, but finished just 2-of-5 from the charity stripe (Bayfield was a collective 4-of-8; Kent Denver was 1-of-4). Showing some viable post moves and a nice turnaround touch off the glass, Carl Heide totaled nine points while Snooks and Dawson Heide each booked five.
Starters Kennedy and McKay Wells were held to just a Wells free throw combined.
Up next, the Wolverines will travel to the Dec. 8-9 Buena Vista Invitational, with a 4 p.m. test against 3A Salida up first on Day 1. Bayfield is scheduled for a showdown against Sterling-ranked #1 in the CHSAANow.com Class 3A preseason pollat 1 p.m. Saturday. This will be the boys' final road game before 2A San Juan of Blanding, Utah, enters BHS Gymnasium Friday, Dec. 15, for a 7 p.m. tip.
EXTRA CREDIT: It bears mentioning that the Bayfield JV not only also competed at the Schayes Memorial, but also raised some Metro Area eyebrows. Coached at the event by Scott Kujath and Cory Edwards, the Wolverines defeated Kent Denver's JV 71-61 on Day 1, and The Pinnacle's JV 41-15 on Day 2.