Steamboat Springs Ryan Scheer ignited a fire into the Steamboat offense Saturday night in Pueblo, leading the Sailors to a 48-39 win over the Wildcats and rocketing them into the state quarterfinals.
Steamboat, which improved to 21-3, knocked off No. 3-ranked Pueblo Central after trailing 9-0 early in the game.
A pair of 3-pointers by Ryan Kiely and Scheer sparked an 18-3 run following the team's slow start.
Steamboat, which entered the second-round regional playoff game as the No.14-ranked team in the state in the Class 4A division, will now face Lewis-Palmer Thursday at Pepsi Center in Denver.
"Our kids defended with their hearts on their sleeves," coach Kelly Meek said. "They followed our game plan almost perfectly."
Central, which was eliminated from postseason play, was shut down by a tough defense led by Rusty Eck in the inside.
The Sailors were ahead 24-20 in the second half when Scheer got the team rolling again after he drew a charge on the Wildcats' Michael Aragon. After his gutsy defensive play, Scheer took over on the offensive end.
He was fouled after he made a basket and then sank the ensuing free throw to extend the lead to seven points at the 6:15-mark of the third period.
Not to outdo himself, Scheer then pulled up from long range and nailed a 3-pointer that put the Sailors on top, 30-22.
He finished the game with 11 points.
Justin Pershin, who scored 20 points for the Wildcats, drained a 10-foot jumper that trimmed the lead to 30-29.
At the end of the third quarter, the Sailors held a 38-32 advantage.
Steamboat turned the ball over three times at the start of the final period while attempting to stall, which ended up allowing the Wildcats to claw back into the game.
A Pershin layup tied the score, 38-38.
Central missed three crucial foul shots down the stretch but grabbed a one-point lead when Pershin made one of two shots from the line.
Steamboat finally got back on the board and regained the lead with 1:56 remaining when Danny Weber connected on a pair of free throws after he was fouled taking the ball hard to the glass.
Aragon was then called for a travel, which turned the ball back to the Sailors, who tried stalling again.
Steamboat had a pass intercepted, but a Wildcats' player stepped out of bounds with the ball which gave possession back to the local squad.
Weber made a layup with about one minute remaining to give the team a 42-39 cushion.
After a missed 3-pointer by the Wildcats, Weber grabbed the rebound and Kiely then threw an assist to Andrew Johnston who was deep on the other end.
Johnston made the layup and was fouled with :40 left in the game. He missed the free throw but his field goal put the Sailors ahead, 44-39.
Johnston then made 4-4 from the line in the final 13 seconds to seal the victory. He finished with 11 points.
Kiely scored 10 points and Weber added eight.
"We told the kids, these guys were street ballers, that they were better than us athletically," Meek said.
"But we knew if we stuck with the fundamentals that's the way we could beat the street ballers."
Meek credited Alex Mackey, Hunter Maddox and Jeff Aragon with providing huge performances Saturday night.
Game time for the Steamboat versus Lewis-Palmer game will be announced Monday.