The playoff barrier that has been restricting the Rangeview boys basketball team has been broken.
Three years after being eliminated from the Class 5A Final Four, the Raiders returned to the Denver Coliseum on Friday night to flip the script, doing so with a 62-51 win over Mountain Vista to advance to their first 5A championship game.
None of the players on the current roster were on that Final Four team in 2016, but many of them have experienced being eliminated in the second round of the playoff bracket the past two years.
"We know we've wanted to get here for the past four years, and now it's time," said Christopher Speller, who scored a game-high 21 points. "We had to believe that we could get here ... It feels like we finally got past this obstacle."
Rangeview led wire-to-wire in Friday's victory. That lead grew as large as 16 points, before a 13-3 run by the Golden Eagles cut the deficit to as little as five points with just more than a minute to play.
Helping the Raiders hang on was an athletic and-one from Christian Speller, who had 12 points, as well as 13 from Quincey Jewett.
Rangeview only has one state title in program history, from 1985 when they brought home a 3A championship.
When asked about the possibility of bringing home a title for the first time in 34 years, Christopher Speller said: "It would mean a lot. It would bring our school a lot of hope and happiness."
Mountain Vista's season ends with a 24-3 record. The Golden Eagles were led by Ben Grusing (16 points) and Simon May (11 points) in the defeat.
CHAPARRAL 58, THUNDERRIDGE 46
A 20-0 run in the Final Four can make or break you depending which side of it you're on.
Top-seeded Chaparral trailed for the majority of its semifinal against 5-seed ThunderRidge, including being down 10 points late in the third quarter.
But the Wolverines stole the momentum by rattling off a 20-0 run before the shell-shocked Grizzlies could score again in the fourth quarter. That swing proved to be too much to recover from as Chaparral's raucous crowd grew louder as time slipped away.
"At halftime, our heads were down. I had to come talk in front of the team and help them up," said Tanner Giles, who led all scorers with 21 points. "We came out with a different mentality ... We couldn't go out like that."
Kobe Sanders also reached double figures for Chaparral (23-4) with 11 points.
The Wolverines will be returning to the title game for the first time since Josh Adams' legendary overtime tip-in victory in 2012.
"There's so many greats that have passed through 'Chap'. If we get (a championship) like those, just to be in the same outline as them would mean so much to me and the (guys)," Giles said.
ThunderRidge's season ends with a 21-6 record. The Grizzlies were led by a team-high 13 points from Chris Franquemont.
Rangeview and Chaparral will play in the 5A championship game at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the finale at the Coliseum.