It was a matchup of perhaps two of the most talented teams in all of Colorado. And, they had to play each other in the Sweet 16.
In a thriller at the ThunderDome at Manual High School, No. 13 Smoky Hill boys' basketball hung on to beat No. 4 Denver East, 76-72, and advance to Great 8.
The Buffaloes jumped out to a quick lead with an impressive first quarter, and were out in front 41-28 as the two teams went into the locker room at halftime.
In what has become the norm for Smoky Hill, the best buckets came in the form of some high-flying dunks, including a great alley oop from sophomore guard Quentin Rock to senior center Will Becker right before halftime.
But, with the help of a deafening home crowd, East came roaring back in the second half. Behind a suffocating press and a big surge from CU commit Daylen Kountz (who finished with 25 points), the Angels climbed within 3 points for the better part of the 4th quarter.
They even trimmed the deficit to just 1 point on a late 3-pointer from Kountz with 11 seconds remaining.
However, Smoky Hill never let the Angels seize control. Rock was sensational in every facet of the game, leading all scorers with 28 points.
Becker added 16, and junior Kenny Foster put up 12, including a big dunk in transition in the final two minutes to put Smoky up 7.
In the end, a couple of late free throws helped the Buffaloes hang on and advance to the next round in what is a very difficult side of the bracket in the 5A boys tournament.
Up next, Smoky Hill will take on No. 5 George Washington this Saturday in the Great 8 at the Denver Coliseum.