Widefield Loses Title Game

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Francisco Cruz scored 19 points, taking the game in his own hands in the final minutes Saturday, and Abraham Lincoln won its second straight Class 4A state championship with a 63-59 victory over Widefield at the Coors Events Center.

Dre Calloway added 14 points, and Sean Williams had 11 for the top-seeded Lancers (23-5), winners of the Denver Prep League who finished the season with 19 straight victories including a 70-65 victory over defending Class 5A champion Denver East.

Julien McCollum scored 27 points and Sean Farrior poured in 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Widefield (25-2), which saw its 25-game winning streak end.

Trailing 57-54 with 2:10 to play, Cruz, who also had 12 rebounds in the game, scored on a putback. He then scored from inside 20 seconds later after grabbing a loose ball at midcourt, and the Lancers took a 58-57 lead with 1:27 left.

After McCollum sank a pair of foul shots to give Widefield the lead, 59-58 with 1:20 to play, Cruz raced through the paint, scoring an acrobatic layup that gave Lincoln the lead for good, 60-59, with 1:09 remaining.

Cruz wasn't finished.

He stole the ball and hit a 6-foot jumper with 44 seconds left, and the Lancers held a 62-59 advantage.

Saul Torrez converted one of two free throws with 9.3 seconds left to account for the final score.

Widefield, champions of the Colorado Springs Metro League, used its athleticism to stay with the taller Lincoln squad.

The Gladiators, also a No. 1 seed which led 31-29 at the break, tied the game at 54-54 on a 3-pointer by McCollum with 3:28 to play. Farrior then hit a trey less than a minute later, giving Widefield a 57-54 lead before Cruz started his heroics.

Widefield, which made it to the quarterfinals last year and lost by two points in the semifinals last year, were playing for their second state championship and first since 1985.

Lincoln scored 20 points off turnovers versus five points for Widefield. The Lancers also outrebounded the Gladiators 41 to 36.

The teams, which were tied five times, matched each other from the field, each shooting 42 percent from the field.