The Buena Vista Demons wrestled to the regional championship by more than 50 team points and qualified nine to a pared-down state field Saturday.

“This year’s region was different than in years past where 56 athletes per region would qualify. This year with lessening the numbers, only 28 athletes per region qualified,” BVHS coach Jared Todd explained. “State will be an 8-man bracket and not 16.

“Your Demons ate up over 30% of the allocations in our region and finished the tourney with 206 points to be regional champs by almost 50 points to the runner up team,” Todd said.

John Mall placed second with 155 points and Fowler took third with 92.

Of the nine the Demons are sending to state, five will proceed as individual regional champions. Elijah Evans took third at 160, which qualifies in normal years.

Freshman Caleb Camp continued his undefeated season at 106 pounds Friday by pinning his way through regionals. His finals opponent was ranked in the top 6 and he just out worked him and got the fall to become regional champ, Todd said. He is the No. 1-seed in this year’s bracket.

Junior Chris Hutchings became a 2-time regional champion and 3-time state qualifier Friday and is also a No. 1-seed at state.  His finals opponent was ranked No. 2 and was the second meeting. Hutchings won the first meeting 4-3. 

“This match was just as close and finished 4-3,” Todd said. “He was leading late in the third and slapped a cradle on, pushed a little too hard and gave up a reversal to tie. He was able to get the escape as time expired to get the win.”

Sophomore David Arellano became a regional champion Friday to improve on his regional runner-up finish last year. He pinned all of his opponents and then won the finals 12-0 to handily punch his ticket to state for the second time.

Sophomore Haden Camp earned a regional championship Saturday to qualify for state for the second time after pinning his way through the regional bracket. 

“In the finals he was in a bit of a scramble and then hit a beautiful throw and was able to secure the fall in the first period” for the regional championship, Todd said.

Junior Seth Moss became a regional champion at 182 Saturday to qualify for the second time by also pinning his way through the regional bracket. 

“In the finals he was able to string a 3-move combo together to get the first takedown and then just put it on his opponent in the first period,” Todd said. “Bam! Just like that, he is a regional champ.”

Senior Issac Hutchings became a regional runnerup at 120 and 4-time state qualifier Friday.

“He lost a tough match in the finals, but then had to readjust his mindset because he had a challenge match for true second,” Todd said. “In the challenge match, he pinned his opponent in the first to punch his ticket.  Issac also just recorded his 100th varsity win in his career. Rare air there.”

Junior Jackson Helmke became a regional runnerup at 126 for the second year in a row Friday to qualify for state for the second time. 

“He also lost a tough close match in the finals but also had to readjust his mindset as he also had a challenge match,” Todd said. “In the challenge match he pinned his opponent in the first to punch his ticket.”

Junior Chris Deluca became a regional runnerup at 152 for the second year in a row Saturday and is now a two-time state qualifier.

“He lost a very tough match in the finals off of one position that our opponent was well versed in,” Todd said. “He didn’t have much time as he also had a wrestle back to get ready for.  He got his mind right and after a tight 2-1 match, he blew the doors off and tech-falled his opponent 18-2 to secure the berth.”

Freshman Abram Durbin became a regional runner up Saturday at 285. 

“We knew his semifinal would be a big match and if he won he would have the berth secured,” Todd said. “After trailing 2-0 in the first, we choose top in the second and he was able to run a top series and get the fall. 

“In the finals, he ran into an upperclassmen and was unable to penetrate the defenses and fell to the highly ranked wrestler,” he said.

Sophomore Elijah Evans came up one place short at 160 for third Saturday. 

“He lost in the quarterfinals but strung together some victories to get that bronze at regionals,” Todd said. “His victories and placing were important to the team score as well as for next year’s seeding criteria.”

The Demons also had two other athletes compete at regionals and fall short of their goals of qualifying, freshmen Colton Montoya at 138 and 195 Elijah Flowers at 195. 

“These youngbloods improved greatly over their freshmen years and I have no doubt in my mind that this will be the last time that they do not qualify for the state championships,” Todd said.

“We will carry this momentum through the next week and see how many placers that we can get. This team has a chance to do some really special things at the state level,” Todd said. “We will have to battle for every single point as there are no slouches with only 8 athletes per bracket.  Real exciting times for this group of Demon headbangers.”

Demons make playoffs

The Buena Vista Demons won two of the three games they played in 4 days and earned a berth in the state playoffs.

The No. 20 Demons will play No. 13 Coal Ridge at New Castle in the 24-team championship tournament.

“Well, we reached the end of the regular season.  Three games in 4 days was a little hectic, but we got it done,” Demons coach Scott Crites said. 

“Rivalry game is always a tough one to lose,” Crites said of the 62-47 loss to Salida March 3. 

“We started the game fantastic, scoring the first 8 points.  Salida chipped away at our lead and at the end of the 1st we led 13-11,” Crites said.

The Spartans posted a 15-0 run over the last 3:32 to close out the first half with a 36-23 lead.

“Salida forced some turnovers in that run and converted those into points,” Crites said.

The lead stayed between 12 and 18 points through an even second half.

“That run was to much for us to overcome,” Crites said.

Dominic St John led BV with 15 points.

The Demons beat La Junta 56-36 March 5 to celebrate senior night.

St. John, Terry Hirsch, Luke Reavis and Isaac Bearrs were honored before the game. 

“Great group of kids who we wish the best of luck,” Crites said.

Buena Vista held the Tigers scoreless in the opening quarter to lead 14-0.

“They made a nice run at us in the second quarter and cut our lead down to 26-18 at halftime,” Crites said. “We did a good job in the second half building the lead back up to 20 points.

“Our defense and press made it tough for them to convert their possessions into points.  It was a great way for our seniors to go out in their final home game.”

Tucker Storms led the Demons with 13 points on only 6 shot attempts and went 6/7 from free throw line. Connor Scott added 11 points.

The Demons posted a 66-60 win over Woodland Park in a game it needed to win to make the playoffs March 6. 

“We played our best first half of the season and at one point built our lead to 34-10,” Crites said, before Woodland Park closed the lead to 34-19 at the half. 

“Cole Reavis really set the tone for us, scoring our first 7 points and created a number of turnovers in our press,” Crites said.

BV extended its lead to 46-29 going into the final quarter. 

“The fourth quarter was a different story.  Sophomore Sonny Ciccarelli caught fire and brought the Panthers back to within 3 points late in the ball game,” Crites said.  He finished with a game-high 31 points. 

“We did a great job making FT’s down the stretch, going 19-23 in the game, which ended up being the difference I believe,” he said. “Although we did not do a very good job closing out the game, our number 1 goal was to get the win and earn a playoff berth, which Monday morning was confirmed.”

Cole Reavis led BVHS with a double-double the hard way, 21 points and 10 assists. Terry Hirsch and Max Johnson both added 10 points.

Buena Vista played Coal Ridge Tuesday March 9.

Lady Demons knocked out of playoffs

The Lady Demons battled through an injury and virus/quarantine filled season to the final week only to get whumped with a knockout punch at the end.

“The team was hit hard this week with injuries and quarantines as we lost 5 of our varsity players for the Salida game,” Lady Demons coach Robert Crowther said. “The girls came out and played really strong defense, but had a hard time scoring. Salida did a good job making it difficult to get open shots, and when we did get a good scoring opportunity, we just couldn’t get the ball to go in,” he said following the 33-14 loss March 3.

“It was a frustrating night for all, but the girls gave it all they could,” Crowther said.  

Buena Vista  04-04-02-04 – 14

Salida                10-09-08-06 – 33

Buena Vista bounced back to close out the season with a come-from-behind 42-38 win over LaJuanta March 5 with one of it’s best efforts.

“This was one of the best games we have had this year.  We gain three girls back from quarantine, but lost another one to injuries.  This has been the tale for most of this year,” Crowther said. “We have only had all our team for two of our games this year.  This was a fun game to watch as the girls continued to fight back every time they fell behind.”

Kendall Simpson hit three 3-pointers in the first period, La Juanta came back and took the first quarter lead 14-9.  The second quarter saw Charis Mayton going to work and scoring 6 points in that quarter as BV closed the gap to 22-20 at half. 

Buena Vista trailed 33-27 entering the final quarter, but five players scored in the fourth quarter as the Lady Demons outscored La Junta 15-5 to secure the win. 

Simpson led the team with 18 points and Mayton had 12 while controlling rebounding to finish with 14. 

“Jasmine White and Ella Coates had an outstanding game as they held La Junta’s best player to 5 points over the last three quarters,” Crowther said. “We lost Aja Hogan with a knee injury before our first game and the injury bug and COVID took their toll the whole season.”

Buena Vista 09-11-07-15 – 42

La Junta        14-08-11-05 – 38

Seniors Mayton and White played their final prep game Friday. 

“Their leadership, hard work, and example for the younger girls will be greatly missed,” Crowther said.

“This was a crazy year as we didn’t know who we would have from game to game, but the girls always picked up the slack and gave everything they could,” he said. “We have a good group of younger girls to build on and the future should be brighter for Buena Vista’s girls basketball team.”

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