Warriors Fall To Colts in Semi-Finals

The Warriors season drew to a close last Friday, March 11

The+Warriors+huddle+up+before+tip-off+at+the+Denver+Colliseum

ToneImages

The Warriors huddle up before tip-off at the Denver Colliseum

Joshua Bailey, Editor-in-Chief

Despite a magical season for the Frederick Warriors, the stars did not align in the final four tournament last weekend, as they faltered against the Pueblo South Colts by a score of 56-67. It looked as though the unprecedented season would continue for the Warriors, as they were dominating the Colts early in the first half of the semi-final game. However, stout defense, better momentum, and questionable officiating all played a part in Frederick’s ultimate descent. Their streak of success finally sputtered out.

That last time the Warriors made any kind of push for the championship game took place over half a century ago when Frederick won the state title in 1956. Consequently, this years’ truly unprecedented playoff run was years in the making–five years ago the Warriors were one of the worst teams in the state, only winning one game all season. Since then, Frederick has made propulsions for the playoffs, but hasn’t eeked out a playoff victory until this year–their first playoff win since 2014. Along the way, Frederick has made buzzer-beaters, overcome heated rivalries, and battled ups and downs all season. They looked to carry that momentum into the Denver Coliseum last Friday, March 11.

The game started in Frederick’s favor. By the end of the first quarter, they were up 13-8 on the Colts. However, the second quarter was a different story. The Colt’s star player–Maurice Austin, who finished with 21 points–started to take over. Even when he wasn’t scoring, Austin was distributing the ball, playing relentless defense, and making his presence felt. The Colts scored 20 points in the second period, to the quiet tune of Frederick’s 4.

The momentum was completely thrown off. Frederick didn’t look as confident in the second half. Even despite that shift, it appeared the Warriors would make a late push for a comeback. Bryce Conover, who played phenomenally in his final high school career game, dropped 17 points including four three-pointers.

With around five minutes to go in regulation, the Warriors were down 11, 43-54, riding momentum. Maurice Austin, the leading scorer for the Colts, had accumulated four fouls on the night. One more, and he would be expunged from the contest. However, as Luke Justice went up for a layup that would’ve brought the game to within single digits, he was clobbered by Austin, who made clear contact. It should’ve been a foul on the play, but the officials didn’t blow the whistle. It seems like an inconsequential play, but that no-call was instrumental in the Colts’ victory. The momentum swung back their way, and they never relinquished that double-digit lead from that point on.

Overall, the season has been a valiant one for the Warriors. The team, and school as a whole, have really embraced the mantra, “The Last Warriors.” It’s been an unforgettable year. So, even though the season didn’t end perfectly, who’s to say it hasn’t been a perfect season?