DENVER — The Manual Thunderbolts won their first boys basketball state championship since 1991 after a valiant comeback in the fourth quarter to defeat the Vanguard Coursers in the 3A State Championship at the University of Denver.
In a packed-house at Hamilton gym, the two teams had the crowd buzzing from the tip-off to the final buzzer.
To start the game, the Coursers were hot from around the arc. Senior Seth Fuqua couldn't miss from outside in the first and tallied a total 20 points to end the game.
Fugua's counterpart inside, junior Dominique Clifford put up a game-high 25-point performance.
Vanguard led the Manual 35-26 at the half and a great deal of confidence heading into the second half.
Third quarter, Vanguard continued to lay on offense and would hold a healthy 13-point lead with two minutes left in the third; however, the fourth is when Manual shined.
From those final two minutes of the third to the five and a half minute mark of the fourth, Manual outscored Vanguard 19-5 to take the lead 54-53. The Thunderbolts revamped their defensive strategy and began pressing Vanguard forcing turnovers that turned into points.
Rallying with the help of an electrifying Thunderbolt crowd, Manual went on to complete the comeback victory and win the school's first boys basketball state championship since 1991.
In the 3A girls basketball game, the St. Mary's Pirates took home their second straight state title win against Colorado Springs Christian 56-34. Pirates' Ellie Hartman had 16 points and Seneca Hackley tallied a game-high 18 points.