F-FC center all the rage in meeting of area’s finest
DANNY SUMMERS THE GAZETTE
FOUNTAIN – Billed as the “Rage in the Cage,” Friday’s Class 4A Metro League boys basketball matchup between Pikes Peak No. 1 Harrison and No. 2 Fountain-Fort Carson lived up to the hype, as overtime was needed to decide the winner.
Fountain-Fort Carson’s 6-foot-9 Phil Loadholt dominated, scoring a game-high 24 points while pulling down 10 rebounds and blocking seven shots in a 56-54 Trojans victory.
“I just felt good tonight,” said Loadholt as he was mobbed at midcourt by a host of Fountain-Fort Carson fans after the game. “And this was a great atmosphere. I wish it could be like this all the time.”
An overflow crowd of nearly 1,300 jammed the Fountain-Fort Carson gymnasium, which is known as The Cage. Another 150 fans were turned away before the game because of fire-code reasons.
With noise levels deafening at times, the teams showed why they could meet for the state title in March.
Each team entered the game having defeated its opponents by an average score of more than 30 points. Fountain-Fort Carson had not scored fewer than 71 points in any game.
With the score tied 52-52 at the end of regulation, Fountain-Fort Carson (10-0, 2-0 4A Metro) went to Loadholt in overtime as Harrison (8-1, 1-1) appeared almost helpless to defend his enormous size and strength.
Loadholt scored both Fountain-Fort Carson baskets in the overtime, including the gamewinner on a layup with five seconds remaining.
Harrison went for the win on its last possession, but Dorian Watson’s 3-pointer bounced off the rim.
“Our game plan tonight was to get the ball into Phil,” said Fountain-Fort Carson guard Bucky Poirier, who scored nine points. “He’s the man.”
Loadholt showed signs of fatigue as the game entered the latter stages. He missed all four of his free-throw attempts in overtime. He made 2 of 3 earlier in the game.
Loadholt said Fountain-Fort Carson prepared for Harrison’s suffocating press and trap.
“We’ve been working our butts off in practice for two weeks getting ready to run,” Loadholt said.
Loadholt scored 13 of Fountain-Fort Carson’s 20 first-half points. The score was 20-20 at halftime.
Poirier, arguably the most talented player on the court, was held scoreless in the first half, missing two free-throw attempts. But he made up for it in the third quarter when Loadholt was taken out of the game for a rest by Fountain-Fort Carson coach Anthony Ribaudo. Poirier scored eight points in the quarter, including two running jumpers in the lane that led to a 42-34 lead heading into the fourth.
Harrison stormed back to tie the score at 42-42 on a pair of layups and free throw by Watson, who finished with a team-high 15 points, and three free throws by Josh Messick, who scored nine.
The lead changed hands four times in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Trailing 52-50 with under a minute, Harrison’s Marquale Williams drained two free throws to send the game into overtime.
CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0250 or email@example.com TROJANS WIN
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.