After winning the regional championships over the weekend, the Montezuma-Cortez High School boys basketball team headed to the state playoffs in Denver.
The Panthers were scheduled to play the Sterling High School Tigers, who have won 23 of their 24 games this season and were ranked No. 2 in the state.
The game started after The Journal’s press time on Thursday and will be reported at The-Journal.com on Thursday night.
Sterling has found success with a defense that has held opponents to 36.6 points per game this season. In 24 games, the Tigers have held opponents under 35 points nine times and allowed 50 points just twice.
Still, M-CHS was confident that it would be able to score, thanks to a diverse roster that features a handful of talented guards and two powerful post players.
The Panthers were sent off Wednesday morning by cheering students and staff, and an escort by the Cortez Police Department, Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, Southwest Health System and Cortez Fire Protection District.
“We love this school. I’ve said that before,” said senior Jens Jorgensen. “I’m super-excited to play. We all know we have a chance at state, so we’re going for it, we’re going all out.”
“For me, I have a camaraderie with these guys, it’s a brotherhood,” Jorgensen said. “I don’t think I’ve been with a team that’s worked harder than these guys.”
Titus Jackson focused on a win.
“They’ll be tough, but they’re a beatable team,” the junior said.