ARVADA —It became a waiting game.
Arvada West’s boys basketball team had to wait and see if its 16-7 record is good enough to grab a top-16 seed to host a first-round game in 32-team Class 6A state tournament that begins Wednesday, Feb. 22.
“We’ve battled all year for that seed,” A-West senior Jasper Padia said after the Wildcats finished off their regular season with a 45-34 home victory over Columbine on Feb. 17. “We might not have played our greatest tonight, but we got the win. That’s all that matters at the end of the day.”
A-West was right on the bubble when it comes to getting a top-16 seed and hosting a first-round game Wednesday, Feb. 22, for the 6A state tournament. The Wildcats came up short getting the No. 18 seed and having to go on the road to face No. 15 Fountain-Fort Carson in the opening round of the postseason.
The Colorado High Schools Activities Association released the 32-team brackets for 6A, 5A and 4A on Sunday, Feb. 19.
“That a good question. I hope so,” A-West coach Jeff Parriott said after the win against Columbine. “There are too many variables to really know, but we did what we had control over. I thought we played really well defensively tonight.”
A-West held Columbine (13-10, 6-6) to seven points in each of the first three quarters. Senior Ty Afraimi led the Rebels with 11 points. Senior Levi O’Brien was shutout in the first half before finishing with nine points on the night.
It was a far cry from what O’Brien did to the Wildcats in their first conference meeting back on Jan. 25.
“Last game O’Brien came out hot,” Padia said referring to O’Brien scoring 26 points in the opening half in their first meeting. “We had to make sure he didn’t come out hot and play the defense we’ve kind of gone away from the last couple of games.”
A-West fell out of contention of winning the league title with back-to-back losses to league champion Valor Christian and Bear Creek. The Wildcats were in danger of heading into next week’s postseason on a 3-game losing streak.
“We just needed to turn this around,” Parriott said of ending the losing streak. “We’ve played just so poorly the last week and a half. We were able to do that tonight and get the win.”
Padia led the way with a game-high 13 points. Fellow seniors Zion Thomas (8 points) and Carson Nichols (7 points) helped close out the victory in the fourth quarter. Nichols had a big 3-point play early in the fourth quarter that pushed A-West’s lead to 32-21. Thomas scored six points in the final quarter.
“I loved his energy tonight. He always plays hard,” Parriott said of Thomas. “He just had an energy tonight that was contagious with the guys.”
A-West honored its four seniors — Ethan Kerstiens, Nichols, Padia and Thomas — before the game. The Wildcats hope their four seniors will get one more game on A-West’s home court.
“Senior Night played a big role in it,” Padia said of the emotion of possibility the last game on the Wildcats’ home court. “But at the end of the day it was just another game where we needed to get the win to secure our seed and second-place in league.”
A-West and rival Ralston Valley (16-7, 7-4) finished 3 games behind conference champion Valor Christian (16-7, 11-1).
“Winning 16 games and having the chance to host a first-round playoff game, finishing (tied) for second in the league,” Parriott said. “I’m really proud of these guys.”
Dennis Pleuss is the sports information director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.