Category Archives: Boys Basketball

Remembering the Mamba

Zach Gotlieb | January 30th, 2020

On Sunday morning, the world lost an icon. An idol to so many people across the globe. Kobe Bryant was among nine people that died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, leaving behind a wife and three daughters. Words can’t truly express what happened.

I remember the 2009 Western Conference Finals. The only time the Denver Nuggets have made it to the WCF in my lifetime. Of course, it had to be against the Lakers. Of course, we had to play against Kobe. The man who ruined dreams. Carmelo Anthony was amazing, but Kobe was on a different planet. He owned the Nuggets. I was at the games when they played in Denver. The environment, as always, was incredible. I remember it so vividly. Every time Kobe touched the ball, he got booed. Every. Single. Time. It was out of hate. Hate for all of the best reasons. We knew that every time he touched the ball, we’d be down by more than we were before. Even if they didn’t score, somehow, we were down more than we were before. Denver put up a good fight but eventually lost in 6 games. Kobe and the Lakers went on to win the Finals that season.

I know that just about everybody did it. Whether it was on the basketball court, the classroom throwing crumpled up papers into the trash can. Make or miss, there was always one unifying word. “Kobe!!” Every time, in elementary school, we’d pull up and chuck a prayer of a shot you’d hear it. “Kobe!!” For Kobe, it was part his ‘shooters shoot’ “Mamba Mentality.” He’d make some ridiculous shot and just get back on defense. For us, if we made the shot, the game stopped to celebrate. He may be disappointed in the fact that we took the time to celebrate, but this wasn’t our day job. We did it cause we felt, for just one second, like we were him. Our idol.

Kobe played 20 years in the NBA, spending his whole career with the Los Angeles Lakers. In that time, he was a 17-time All-Star, 2-time Olympic Gold medalist, and a 5-time champion among many many more accolades. He was a killer (in a basketball way, of course). The type that made you fear seeing the number 8 or eventually the number 24 in that Lakers purple and gold. You just knew that there was no way he was going to let his team lose. In basketball, we always talk about the clutch instinct. The killer mentality. Kobe was the embodiment of that. There are just so many examples of it. It was only fitting that his last game embodied his whole career. He dropped 60 points, including the daggers that put the Lakers over the Utah Jazz. Truth is, none of that mattered.

Kobe Bryant embodied the very best things about a person. The greatest competitor. A tireless worker. An outstanding father. Just an incredible person. He was a superhero to all. Yes, he may have had his spots and made some mistakes, ones that shouldn’t be glossed over, but he proved that people can change.

He had four daughters. Possibly the most devastating part of the accident was hearing about the fact that one of his daughters was in the crash. His 13-year-old, Gianna. Natalia, his oldest daughter, is a volleyball player. Gianna was the basketball player. The heir to Kobe’s massive throne. Even at 13, she already had all of the tools to be an amazing basketball player. She possessed the very things that Kobe had. Skill, but also the mentality. She already has the killer instinct. The belief that it doesn’t matter who you were, she was going to beat you. Most importantly, she had the undying support of her father.

Their bond came from basketball. After retirement, Kobe took time away from basketball. It was Gianna who brought him back the league. Her love of the game and her ambition. Kobe saw it too. There’s a clip that’s been going viral in recent days when he’s talking about his legacy and his kids taking the torch with Jimmy Kimmel.

“This kid, man. I’m telling you. The best thing that happens is when we go out, and fans will come up to me, and she’ll be standing next to me. They’ll be like ‘hey, you got to have a boy. You and V[anessa]. You gotta have a boy to carry on your tradition, the legacy.’ And she’s like ‘oye, I got this. Ain’t no boy for that. I got this.’ And I’m like, that’s right. Yes, you do. You got this,” Bryant said to Jimmy Kimmel.

Gianna dreamed of going to UCONN. One of the most dominant teams in recent history. Then eventually to the WNBA. People believed she would be the unifying force to bring the NBA and WNBA simply because of the legacy that she brought along with the legacy she was creating for herself.

Players believed that Kobe could have ended up being the commissioner of the WNBA. He’s become an ambassador for the game. He’s done everything to try and build up a game that hasn’t been as popular as it should be.

I’ll end it with this, This doesn’t feel real. Kobe Bryant was literally a superhero. Like Superman. He may have had 23 years on me, but he was supposed to outlive me. An immortal. The fact that we have to wake up in a world without the Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant, is devastating and doesn’t feel real.


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A New Regime: Introducing Legend’s New Basketball Coach

Zach Gotlieb

It’s the beginning of a new era for the Legend boy’s basketball program. For the first time since the school opened in 2008, the basketball team will be led by a new head coach. Social studies teacher Mr. Brenning will now also go by Coach Brenning as he begins his first year as the head coach of the program.

Continue reading A New Regime: Introducing Legend’s New Basketball Coach

Boys’ basketball defeats Loveland, 50-44

Riley Matticks gets around the Loveland defense to get to the basket. Legend won the playoff game Feb. 26, 50-44. Photo by Justin Ehlers
Riley Matticks gets around the Loveland defense to get to the basket. Legend won the playoff game Feb. 26, 50-44. Photo by Justin Ehlers

By Kyle Kercheval

Headed into the 5A State Playoffs, the boys’ basketball team had dropped three straight, including a 70-52 loss to rival, Chaparral Wolverines. However, the blue and white got back to their winning ways, defeating Loveland in their first round contest at home, 50-44.

While the Coliseum Crazies were quick to point out Legend’s size advantage, the Titans’ offense struggled to get the ball into the paint during the first quarter, with big man, senior Zach Mihlaicz, only totaling two points.

However, as the game progressed, Legend’s offensive fluency improved dramatically as they never allowed the Indians to gain serious momentum. Even as Loveland went on a 7-0 run at the end third quarter, senior Elijah Cherrington (“EC”) found the basket for two of his game high 16 points with a big tip-in as time expired.

In the fourth, it was “EC” and Mihalicz again leading Kevin Boley’s offense, as they combined for 12 of Legend’s 15 fourth quarter points.

Although it’s clear Legend didn’t play their best basketball, they came out on top, 50-44, and will take on Dougherty (16-7) on Saturday at 6 p.m. in the second round of the 5A State Playoffs.

Boys basketball falls to Chaparral

Students gather in Chaparral's gym to cheer on the Boys' Basketball Team (Photo by Ashley Keller)
Students gather in Chaparral’s gym to cheer on the boys’ basketball team Feb. 21. Photo by Ashley Keller

By Caleb Friginal

The Wolverines and Titans have met four times in this up and coming rivalry, and not one of those games has been decided by more than six points. Last year’s meeting marked the first time Legend defeated Chap when they took down the Wolverines in the Coliseum behind a sold-out crowd.

This year, the Wolverines came into the meeting with a chip on their shoulder, ready to prove that they were the best in Parker. And they did. Chaparral opened the game with a 9-0 run and never looked back, putting the Titans in a 13 point hole at the end of the first quarter.

Legend managed to make up ground in the second, cutting the Chap deficit to only nine points going into the half. During halftime, Coach Kevin Boley talked to his team about rebounding and turnovers. He said it “was the difference in the game to this point.” Boley wanted his team to “stay calm under the pressure” and get [Chap] “out of the paint.”

The Titans came into the second half firing and cut the Wolverine lead to only two before Chap was able to pull away again. Going into the fourth quarter Chaparral had extended the lead back to nine.

Legend fell apart in the fourth quarter and was outscored by nine. The Titans ended up losing the game by 18.

Chaparral was lead by 6-6 guard Chris Moody. Moody totaled 19 points and shot 6 for 10 from the field. Moody also accounted for two assists and seven rebounds. Chaparral also received help from junior Jake Holtzman who scored 17 points and had six rebounds.

For the Titans it was sophomore Monroe Porter who lead the charge. Porter almost single handedly brought Legend back after making many tough jump shots.

All that’s left for the Titans now is the Colorado state tournament where they’ll take on Loveland on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at home in the first round. Game time is 7 p.m.

Boys basketball looks to rebound

By Kyle Kercheval

The Legend boys basketball team huddles up during a timeout in the third quarter of their win over Ponderosa on Feb. 7.
The Legend boys basketball team huddles up during a timeout in the third quarter of their win over Ponderosa on Feb. 7.

After a big 52-41 victory over cross-town rival Ponderosa and a dominating 67-39 win over a struggling Douglas County, the past week has been a rough go for the now 15-7 Legend Titans boys basketball team.

Headed down the final stretch of the 2013-2014 regular season, Legend has dropped two-in-a-row at home for the first time since the 2011-2012 campaign. The first loss came on Feb. 14 to Highlands Ranch, 60-46, and the second on Feb. 18 to Mountain Vista, 80-66.

Although offense hasn’t been the Titans’ strength all season, during these two losses, Kevin Boley’s team has combined for 112 points while their opponents combined for 140.

But, if you had to put your finger on one key statistic, it would be Legends’ slow first quarter starts. After only scoring six against Highlands Ranch and five versus Mountain Vista they’ve been outscored 37-11.

Going into their final regular game of the season on Friday, against the other cross-town rival in Chaparral, Legend will need to bring their best as the Wolverines have won eight out of their last nine games; including a 63-48 win against one of the top teams in the state, Regis Jesuit, at Regis—a team that Legend lost to back on Feb. 1.

Titans Look to Finish Non-League Play with a Win

By Kyle Kercheval

After starting out the season with an exceptional 6-1 record, Legend boys’ basketball has lost three out of their last four contests. However, during this rough nonleague stretch for head coach Kevin Boley and his team, the Titans haven’t been back at the Coliseum since Dec. 21 where they are a perfect 3-0.

Legend’s four game absence from Parker has landed them everywhere from Colorado Springs and Denver during the Cherry Creek Holiday Tournament where they finished second for the third straight season with a 59-63 loss to Cherry Creek; to Littleton where they dropped a game to Dakota Ridge 42-54; back to the Springs where they crushed Palmer 76-56; and then to the western slope where they fell at the hands of the Grand Junction Tigers 54-62.

Heading into the second half of the season, the Titans can certainly pride themselves on being balanced in every part of the game and placing an emphasis on team play; an idea that Boley has preached throughout the course of the season. As a team, they rank in the top five of the Continental League in almost every statistical category.

Seniors Zach Mihalicz and Elijah Cherrington have been leading the team effort this season as they average a combined 27.2 points per game on the offensive end. On the other side of the ball, both average one steal per game and just under eight combined defensive boards.

While the senior leadership has been critical to the boys’ success, sophomore Monroe Porter has been stuffing box scores all season long. In just his first year at the varsity level, the 6-foot-2 guard is fourth on the team in scoring with 9.1 points per game, second on the team (behind only 6-foot-8 Zach Mihalicz) with 5.3 rebounds per game, and leading the team in steals and assists with two pilfers and 3.7 dimes per game. Although he’s usually identified as an outside shooter, Porter has proven to be much more versatile.

For Legend’s next matchup, they will finally be back in a “whited-out” Coliseum as they take on Rangeview High School (9-2) who is coming in off of a monster 72-49 victory over George Washington on Friday.

Young boys’ basketball team preps for another run

By Kyle Kercheval

Boys basketball has a combined 34-12 regular season record and a 6-2 postseason record the past two seasons; including last year’s state run that landed the Titans in the Colorado 5A State Championship Final Four.
Although only six of last year’s 13 varsity players are returning for the looming 2013-2014 season, the program remains confident that their talented and hardworking team can pick up right where they left off.
Senior Zach Mihalicz will be instrumental in the Titans success this season and not only is the 6-foot-8-inch big man poised to be one of the best in the Continental League, but also in all of 5A Colorado, according to varsity head coach, Kevin Boley.
“[Zach] will be the best big man in the state. He can’t be guarded with his size and skill set. We need to do a better job of getting him the ball in positions to score,” Boley said.
“That statement is humbling,” Mihalicz said. “Everyone strives to be the best at their sport, and more specifically at their position.”
Through hard work on and off the court, number 42 feels like he can outsmart and out physical most people in the state. However, he still plans to approach the season step by step.
“The goal starts during game one, and that’s how I will approach the season—one game at a time,” he said.
While Mihalicz’s numbers speak for themselves, the veteran also understands the leadership role that comes with having the most varsity experience in the program.
“I need to use my experience and maturity to be a leader for the younger kids on the team and in the program. I’m a big believer in being smarter and better prepared than your opponent and it will be my job as a vocal and physical leader to get the team to buy into that theory,” he said.
With a younger varsity rotation this season, senior forward Elijah Cherrington will also play a key leadership role, along with sophomore guards, Riley Matticks and Monroe Porter.
Although Legend lost arguably their best shooter in programs short history, Taylor Jenson, to graduation this past summer, Boley believes that they have a bright future with the sharpshooter, Porter; who he thinks will “set records for three-point shooting before he is done.”
With the combination of Mihalicz’s low-post game and Porter’s shooting touch, the Titan’s offense should be able to space the floor with an overall balanced attack.
However, with all the praise and potential of these young players, comes the growing pain associated with the transition and Legend’s consistent success. For coach Boley, the success not only increases the excitement, but also the competition.
“What [the program’s success] does is put an ‘x’ on our back, as we will now start to see everybody’s best shot,” he said.
While what Boley said was true, Mihalicz feels that the team’s high moral standards are equally as important as the success.
“The program as a whole has a high moral standard and culture for everyone at all levels. This helps mature the younger players and prepare them for when they get their opportunity at the varsity level,” Mihalicz said.
While the average age may be lower, the excitement level is at its peak as boys basketball is back at Legend.
“[I’m] very excited [for this year],” Boley said. “[We have a] very hard working team with a high basketball IQ.”
“It’s exciting to have a young team that is full of energy and enthusiasm for the game,” Mihalicz said. “We believe in each other’s skills and are excited to showcase it at games. Everyone has bought into our goals and we are ready to start the journey.”

A Final Four Finish

Legend gave the nationally ranked Denver East Angels a run for their money in the first half of the Final Four match-up at the C.U. Coors Event Center March 15. The game was tied at 26 at half-time, but East came back strong in the third quarter and won the game, 58-45. East advanced to the finals where they were upset by Eaglecrest.  Photos by Bethany Eveleth

By Kyle Kercheval

28 games and 1,069 points later, the Legend Titans Boys’ basketball team can officially call it a season as they fall to the Denver East Angles on Friday night at the CU Event Center during the Colorado 5A State Playoffs.

With a packed student section behind them, Legend held Denver East to 26 points at halftime as the game was knotted up at 26-26.

However, in the second half, the Angles came out hot, outscoring Coach Boley’s squad 32-19 in the second half.

At the final buzzer, Legend’s season came to a bittersweet end, as they lost 58-45.

In the effort, the Titans struggled defensively in the second half, unable to contain Denver East’s high-octane attack, lead by four-star recruit Dominique Collier.

The junior filled the box score with 14 points, five steals, four rebounds and player-of-the-game honors.

It was only the Titans seventh loss of the season, but it will go down as the last contest of Legend’s historic 2012-2013 run.

Basketball Post-Season Review

By Kyle Kercheval 

It has been a historic run for Head Coach Kevin Boley’s squad this season, as the Legend boys’ basketball team is currently preparing for its first Final Four match-up in school history.

The road to this milestone has been anything but a breeze, and anything but a “quick” process. As the Titans themselves reflect and get set for their contest at the Coors Event Center on Friday, let’s take a look at the boys’ journey up to this point.

Round One, Feb. 27: Rocky Mountain (12) @ Legend

Heading into their first postseason matchup, Legend hosted the Rocky Mountain Lobos, coming off of a big 52-50 win against Chaparral to conclude the regular season. Although the Lobos’ record (6-17) was a mirror image of the Titans (17-6), Rocky Mountain Head Coach Jon Rakiecki led his team’s passionate fight through the entire first half, as the Lobos found themselves only down by a bucket at the end of the second quarter, 18-20. However, the momentum quickly shifted in the second half, as the Titans found themselves outplayed and outscored in the third quarter 19-8, and then 19-8 again in the fourth quarter. As the final buzzer sounded, the Titans sent their fans home happy, with a 58-34 victory. Senior John Cosmann—as he has all season—led the way for Legend with 10 points and 50 percent shooting from the field.

Round Two, March 2: @ Grandview (4)

Although the Grandview Wolves had home court advantage and were fresh off of a first round bye, the Legend fans who traveled out to Aurora outnumbered the home supporters—even though they were confined to a small corner of the bleachers. In the first half, Legend came out hot, leading 35-22 at the half. But the number four seeded Grandview wasn’t going to give in so quickly on their home floor. Fueled by their teammates and their crazy student section, they matched the Titans point for point 20-20 in a high scoring third quarter. And although Grandview fought valiantly in the fourth and left it all on the court, Cosmann once again stepped up big in the clutch for the Titans, knocking down four free throws and a breakaway layup to seal the 75-67 win for Legend. Senior Connor Orgil also had a night to remember, grabbing 12 total rebounds and 8 points.

Sweet 16, March 6 @ Chatfield (1)

Although the Legend faithful were outnumbered, they were not outplayed in Legend’s second consecutive trip to the Sweet 16. Coming into the contest, a red-hot Chatfield Chargers team had won 21 consecutive games and had earned one of the number one seeds in the tournament. Even though the Titans were rightly considered the underdog, Coach Boley’s team came out swinging and led at halftime, 29-21. But in the second half, the Chargers began their charge, holding the Titans to only 5 points in the third quarter. After the break and some crazy Coliseum Crazy support, Legend hung on and outlasted Chatfield 51-49. With the win, the blue and white moved on to their first Great Eight appearance in school history. Junior Zach Mihalicz was all over the boards and dominated the match-up by pulling down 10 rebounds and scoring 11 points after the departure of an injured Blake Truman late in the first half.

Great Eight, March 8: Fairview (2) @ the Denver Coliseum

With the game scheduled for 8:30 p.m., Legend students, parents, siblings, and other high school basketball players filled the Denver Coliseum. Unfortunately, the game didn’t tip off until 9:45 due to the Mountain Vista game running over its time slot, into double overtime. Every player and fan took that as a sign of what was to come, and they were right. Despite starting an hour late, both teams came out firing on all cylinders. When the first half came to a close, the Titans faced two situations that they hadn’t faced all post season. They were down by four, 22-26, and leading scorer Cosmann hadn’t made a basket. Headed into the second half, the Titans regained their winning attitude and began to fight back, as they outscored the Knights by three in the third. After some key defensive stops and some quick points, including an inbounds pass dunk from Orgil, Fairview’s last second heave missed by a few inches and the Titans raised the Final Four trophy in front of their fellow students. Undoubtedly, the player of the game for the Titans was senior Taylor Jenson who knocked down Legend’s only three-point shots as he nailed 3 of 4 from behind the arc. Senior Joey Sloan also put up some solid stats, dishing out 10 assists on the offensive end and 3 steals on the defensive end. Although Cosmann never scored a point, his teammates stepped up and collectively won the game.

Final Four, Tonight: Denver East (1) @ C.U. Events Center

Next up for the Titans are the number one team in the state, the Denver East Angels who spot an incredible 24-2 record, with their only losses coming against the number one team in the nation (Lone Peak High School in Utah) and Army-Navy in California. The two teams will battle it out for a spot in the Colorado 5A State Championship Friday at the Coors Event Center in Boulder.