Feb 25, 2014 12:41 AM by Greg Smith
For being one of the last teams to make the tournament, the Cañon City Tigers boys basketball squad sure is happy. And not just because it got in.
Greg Baxter and his team expected to be one of 48 teams in this year's postseason bracket, and they love the draw they were given.
The No. 12 seed Tigers (9-14) will travel to play the No. 5 Elizabeth Cardinals (17-6) at 7 p.m. Wednesday. On Dec. 20, the teams played in the same venue and the Cardinals came out on top of a 59-56 contest.
The winner of the game will advance to the round of 32 where they'll play No. 4 seed Mesa Ridge on Friday. Cañon City lost to Mesa Ridge 54-52 on Jan. 7.
"I was happy with the draw," Baxter said. "If you told me two weeks before that we'd have a chance to play two teams that were on schedule this year that we took to the wire, last possession, I'd definitely take that."
The 48-team playoff field is split into four regions of 12 teams. The top four in each region (16 total) get first-round byes while the others play. After the first round is complete, it leaves 32 teams to play a single-elimination tournament.
Against Elizabeth, senior Corey Richardson missed a shot at the buzzer that would've sent the game into overtime. Overholt led that game with 22 points, and Gunner Javernick had 12.
Mesa Ridge beat Cañon City thanks to a buzzer-beating two points, a final 7 seconds that Javernick said is still vivid in slow motion for him. He and his fellow Tigers know that they don't get a shot at revenge if they can't first claim it against the Cardinals.
"We're pumped to redeem ourselves because we feel like we can beat these teams," Javernick said.
Elizabeth is led by junior Jake Gavitt (21.6 points). Aaron Stone, Trevor Boss and James Christiansen provide punches 1, 2 and 3 averaging 12.2, 12.1 and 12.0, respectively. Stone (9.2) and Gavitt (7.8) lead the team in rebounds.
Javernick is the Tigers' leader in points (13.5) and rebounds (8.9).
Top seeds in the tournament went to Valor Christian, Thompson Valley, Pueblo South and D'Evelyn, and No. 2s are Pueblo East, Cheyenne Mountain, Sand Creek and Denver South.
Other than South and East, other South-Central League teams to get into the playoffs were No. 6 seed Pueblo Central, which will host No. 11 Delta, and No. 9 Pueblo West, which will travel to No. 8 Falcon.