COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Mead's Elijah Knudsen wasn't leaving the Broadmoor World Arena on Sunday night without the 4A boys basketball state championship trophy.
The Mavericks junior played like a man possessed with a will to win.
Knudsen scored 30 points, including several jaw-dropping three-pointers as No. 5 Mead topped No. 3 Montrose 68-44 to win its first boys basketball state title since 1957.
"It's freaking awesome, I love it. It's the best feeling I've ever had in my entire life and it's great," Knudsen told 9NEWS after the game.
The Mavericks jumped out to a 21-6 lead after the first quarter and appeared to be in control, before Montrose made it a four point game before half. But in the second half it was more of Knudsen, more of Marcus Santiago (18 points) and clear Mead would take home the championship.
"It's exciting to get it for (coach Darin Reese), it's exciting to get it for all of us, our community and Nick Basson. It's awesome," Knudsen said.
Basson, a strong player for the Mavericks, suffered a stroke nine days ago and had to have a blood clot removed from his brain. The team wore shirts with his number in pregame warmups and Basson was able to make the trip to Colorado Springs and be on the bench. He was introduced pregame as well.
"I feel pretty lucky to be as good as I am right now," Basson told 9NEWS after the win. "The doctors all told me time is everything and we got in as fast as we could, so that's the reason why I'm doing as good as I am right now. A huge thanks to my mom for noticing the signs."
Overall, the Mavericks finished the season 15-3 and took their first boys hoops state trophy back to Mead in nearly 65 years.
Knudsen made sure that would be the case.
>> Watch the extended highlights of the championship game above and check out the 9NEWS Prep Rally every weekend morning!
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