Fossil Ridge hoops sees a silver lining after a slow start to the season

Emily Brey

Fossil Ridge Basketball. Photo Credit: Google Images

Last year nearly all of the high school basketball teams in the Fort Collins area made a run in playoffs. This season, in the winter of 2016, Fossil’s varsity squad isn’t showing much promise in solidifying a place past the end of conference play. After coming up with three losses, one to Golden High School (55-73), one to Mountain Vista High School (67-77), and one to Chatfield High School (67-94), this early in their play, it raises the question of just how well the boys are going to do this year.

With all of the talent on the team, the results of the previous three games are shocking. Senior Braxton Bertolette, 5A leading scorer of the 2015-16 season, already has (79 pts) this season and is playing alongside offensive powerhouse Alex Price (15 pts), deceptive ball handler Andrew Schimmels (12 pts), and the towering Cam Dehart (23 pts). With the skill and work ethic of this group, it’s almost unreal that their record is what it is.

After an interview with Dehart, he commented, “I feel like we’ve definitely come a long way since where we were last summer, but, of course, we still have a lot of work to do. Since July we have improved in regards to team play, but we still have to figure out what we have to do and change in order to get some consistent wins, you know, to pull ourselves out of this slump we’re in.” Sparks of the teams undeniable talent were clear in the Gojo Tipoff Classic Tournament during the week of December 1. The Sabercats took wins against Dakota Ridge High School (82-52), and Far Northeast High School (60-57),  but very closely fell short to Denver East in the Championship game (68-58).

Even though the Sabercat’s record might project otherwise, the team’s chemistry is something else. Most of these guys, not including Ogden, have been playing together for the last three years; not only do they get to represent Fossil on the court together, they’re friends in the classroom too. DeHart said, “We all get along, sometimes too well (laugh), and no matter how much we despise each other inside the lines, we are still all buds when the whistle blows at the end of each game. I can’t think of a better group of guys to play with. I’m lucky to have gotten to spend these years with them.”

If you were asked to describe how those few students at school, who are in the top 5% of your class, are feeling about finals in one word it would be: enthusiastic. Now, DeHart was asked to describe the team in one word, and he said “enthusiastic”. It’s ironic that the two can be described the same way, considering that DeHart along with the rest of team are set to have a restless schedule for finals week. “The schedule is definitely tough, with our tournament in Cherry Creek it’s going to be a bit of a struggle to get some last minute studying in. Luckily most of us are seniors so we don’t have 7 finals to take, I feel it for Hunter though, these are going to be rough few days (laugh).”  

DeHart himself is one of a kind. The heart he shows on and off the court isn’t easily comparable to others you find in high school. He is a driven student and athlete, and when asked about his future he commented, “I still have a lot of decisions to make about my future, including if i’m going to play collegiate basketball or not. I would like to play, but it’s just a matter of finding the right program for myself.” Further, he talked about the support system he has, and mentioned that his family means everything to him. They pay for all his athletic expenses including out of state tournaments in the summer as well as the costs for playing high school, and expressed that he will never be able to tell them how much he appreciates all that they do for him on and off the court. His fans here at Etched In Stone wish him the best of luck this season too, and with finals this week!

The boys took on Fountain-Fort Carson High School in their first game of the tournament at Cherry Creek High School today, Monday December 19, but couldn’t pull out a win. The final score was 87-69 in favor of the Trojans. Today, Tuesday December 20, the ‘Cats played against Thomas Jefferson High School at Cherry Creek High School at 1:00 pm and won 66-45.