The Demons’ heat burned out fast.
After trailing by as many as 14 points in the first half, Durango High School caught fire in the third quarter to take a 29-28 lead over Cheyenne Mountain in Round 2 of the CHSAA Class 4A State Boys Basketball Championships on Friday in Pueblo.
But the sixth-seeded Demons’ blazing offense sputtered, and the third-seeded Indians put out the fire with a 22-10 final quarter to win 50-39 at the Colorado State Fairgrounds Events Center to move on to the Sweet 16.
“We gave our full effort and kept that effort, but it just came down to executing,” said Batiste, referring to some key turnovers in the fourth quarter.
“The boys played their butts off. Looked like they were going to blow us out but we battled back,” Batiste said in a postgame interview with KDGO 1240 AM.
“That’s all I ask for: Leave it on the floor.”
Ghassan Nehme was the driver behind Cheynne Mountain’s success. He finished with a game-high 18 points.
Nick Hamlin led the Demons with 14 points before he fouled out late in the game, and Ty Elliott contributed 11 to the DHS comeback.
Nine of Elliott’s points came from 3-pointers, including one to give the Demons their final lead – 32-31 early in the fourth quarter.
Willy Frownfelter, who scored 19 in the Demons’ first-round home win over Pueblo Central on Tuesday, was held scoreless in foul trouble before he fouled out with about 2 minutes to play.
“It was tough without having him on the floor, but we went on that run with him not on the floor,” Batiste said.
The Demons struggled early against the Cheyenne Mountain press before they found ways around it late in the second quarter to mount their comeback.
Batiste said his boys had to deal with some nerves in the big arena under the big lights before they got it together and started to play basketball.
The Indians led 22-15 at the half.
The Demons finished their season 17-7, 7-3 in the Southwestern League and a second consecutive trip to Round 2 of the state tournament.
“We’re not one of the main sports in Durango, so we’re trying to change that culture with hard work and dedication ... and we had a successful season,” Batiste said.
“The kids are starting to buy into the program. Coaching staff is doing an excellent job across all levels.”