ARAPAHOE — Taking advantage of high-percentage shots and fast-break opportunities, Class D1 No. 7-ranked Arapahoe grabbed an early lead and hung on for a 57-45 victory against Overton to open the season Thursday night.
“It's always a great first game because Jay (Staehr) does a nice job with his kids and it's always a battle,” Arapahoe coach Bob Braithwait said.
Overton jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but it would be the Eagles' biggest and only lead of the game. Arapahoe battled back to take a 15-9 advantage at the end of the first quarter, and remained in front for the remainder of the contest.
The Warriors took advantage of their offensive possessions, shooting 56 percent (22 for 39) from 2-point range.
“We move well without the ball,” Braithwait said. “If you're patient and set good screens you can get some easy ones.”
Point guard Isaac Watson led the Arapahoe charge with 18 points, seven assists and seven rebounds. He wasn't even sure if he would take the floor for opening night after injuring his ankle the day before.
“He's just a tough kid, and showed a lot of guts out there,” Braithwait said. “He stepped up — he's a senior and played like it.”
Arapahoe got plenty of production in the post, too. Wyatt Anderson finished with 17 points and 10 boards while Gage Schutz added 15 points and five rebounds.
Overton meanwhile had a hard time getting shots to fall. The Eagles shot 27 percent from the floor, including a 2 for 25 performance from behind the arc.
“The guys tried hard and did the best they could,” Overton coach Jay Staehr said. “Normally the kids we have are pretty good shooters, and tonight we obviously weren't making very many shots.”
With Arapahoe building a lead, Overton turned up the pressure, but the Warriors added more buckets by successfully breaking the press. Arapahoe jumped up 41-24 after three quarters.
“When we got up by 17, I told them, 'It's going to be a 32-minute game. I know Jay's kids are going to fight until the end,'” Braithwait said.
The Arapahoe coach was right, as the Eagles began forcing turnovers and was able to cut the lead to single-digits in the fourth. The Warriors turned the ball over 21 times compared to Overton's 10 giveaways.
“You could tell we got tired,” Braithwait said. “We held the ball over our head and we lobbed the ball a little instead of making a hard pass. Fatigue showed, but that will get better.”
Watson had nine of his points in the final quarter to help Arapahoe hold on for the win.
“It's not that we didn't execute, but we weren't very smart with the ball sometimes and it didn't help us out,” Staehr said.
Overton was short-handed, with two of its most experienced players out of the lineup.
“You're trying to expect a lot out of them,” Staehr said of his team. “There's a lot we can improve on, and it'll get better. The guys are getting their bearings with one another and finding their roles.”
Caleb Ecklund totaled 10 points and 10 boards for the Eagles. Hayden Cahoy finished with 11 points, four steals and two blocks. Joel Shafer added 10 points while Creighton Ryan pulled down a team-high 12 points.
Arapahoe 57, Overton 45
Joel Shafer 4-17 0-1 10, Hayden Cahoy 4-13 3-5 11, Creighton Ryan 4-12 0-0 8, Logan Kizer 0-2 2-4 2, Caleb Ecklund 3-8 4-4 10, Justin Hodgson 1-4 0-0 2, J.D. Callahan 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 17-60 9-14 45.
Caden Weverka 1-3 0-0 2, Isaac Watson 7-14 3-9 18, Brennan Koller 2-7 1-1 5, Logan Warner 0-1 0-0 0, Gage Schutz 7-13 0-1 15, Wyatt Anderson 7-13 3-5 17. Totals 24-51 7-16 57.
Halftime — Arapahoe 26, Arapahoe 13
3-point goals — OVR 2-25 (Shafer 2-13, Cahoy 0-6, Ecklund 0-4, Creighton Ryan 0-2), ARA 2-12 (Watson 1-4, Schutz 1-4, Weverka 0-2, Koller 0-2). Rebounds — OVR 35 (Ryan 12), ARA 48 (Anderson 10). Total Fouls — OVR 19, ARA 15. Fouled out — None. Assists — OHS 10 (Shafer 4), ARA 12 (Watson 7). Turnovers — OVR 10, ARA 21. Blocks — OVR 6 (Cahoy 2, Shafer 2), ARA 1 (Schutz 1). Steals — OHS 11 (Cahoy 4), ARA 7 (Weverka 2, Watson 2).