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Keeler: CU Buffs commit Drew Crawford is best boys basketball player in Colorado. But Valor Christian’s Cole Scherer was best player in Class 6A championship game.

He slept like a maybe. Cole Scherer spent Friday night guzzling Gatorade the way a Ford Super Duty guzzles gas, exhausted after carrying Valor Christian — 29 points, 5 3-pointers — past Smoky Hill in the Class 6A Final Four.

“I was a little sick,” Scherer told me after he rallied the Eagles past CU signee Andrew Crawford and ThunderRidge on Saturday, 52-40, to notch the 6A boys basketball title. “I did not get a great night’s sleep. I was excited for the game, but I mean, just fought through it.”

Little tired this morning?

“A little bit,” Scherer laughed. “But I knew the adrenaline would pick up and I’d be fine. I wasn’t worried about it.”

Neither was his dad.

“Last night was more exhausting than today,” Chad Scherer recalled, a tiny tear lining his right cheek, then his left, after his son dropped 28 points on the Grizzles. “And he left (home) and he was locked in. You could tell …”

Papa Scherer paused to wiped his cheeks clean.

“I get emotional,” he said with an apologetic chuckle. “It’s fun. He just had this feeling like — it was like this calm over the whole moment.”

It showed. Crawford was the most talented boys player to grace the Denver Coliseum for CHSAA’s 2024 Final Four. But Scherer was almost assuredly the best, averaging 28.5 points and 4.5 treys in decisive wins over Smoky Hill and ThunderRidge on back-to-back nights.

“Great player,” longtime Grizzles coach Joe Ortiz said of the Valor junior. “Terrific high-school player. Plays within himself. Pretty dynamic.”

It probably didn’t help that the cat-quick, 6-foot-6 Crawford had fallen hard to the floor on a cut about 50 seconds into the second half. The future Big 12 guard staggered to the ThunderRidge bench, where he got his right knee rubbed down. Crawford toughed it out the rest of the way, but the four-star guard struggled to find his shot, and was held scoreless after halftime.

Give an assist to Valor’s Ryan Mandes, who used his defense to turn in one of the better zero-point performances in 6A championship history. If Crawford started dribbling with his back to the basket, Mandes was waiting for him, elbow attached into the small of No. 42’s back how a remora fish hooks onto a shark.

“It looked like he was hobbling a little bit (after that),” Ortiz reflected. “It probably affected him.”

Small world. Crawford and Scherer have the same trainer.

“Didn’t say much (to him after the game),” Scherer said, “but I told him, ‘Great game.’ He’s a heck of a player.”

No. 1 in blue ain’t so bad himself. Led by Scherer and Mandes, the Eagles put down the clamps defensively, limiting ThunderRidge to a bonkers 4-for-23 shooting clip in the second half. The Grizzlies didn’t make a field goal in the fourth quarter.

“They didn’t?” Scherer replied incredulously when a reporter read off the stats. “Geez.”

A few hours before the Valor boys notched their title, the Eagles’ girls hoops team won the 6A crown, thanks in large part to Scherer’s counterpart in the backcourt, superb guard Quinn VanSickle.

So who’s better?

“I talked to her about this,” Scherer quipped. “I’m a better player.”

Yet while Crawford’s bound for Boulder, the best player in the 6A title game is heading into his last summer as a prep with just one offer in his pocket: MSU Denver.

Scherer’s 6-2 with a 3.9 GPA. Yo, rival coaches. You’re really gonna let the Roadrunners swoop in and steal this one out from under your beaks?

“I think after this performance, this (game), these (CHSAA) playoffs, things will open up for us,” Chad Scherer said.

You’d hope. Especially after the way a tired Cole and a concerned Chad hashed out a mental game plan Saturday morning.

“Don’t put any more pressure on yourself. Just go out there, enjoy the moment and just make the most of it,” father told son. “Because you never know if you’re going to get that opportunity again.”

Mission accomplished.

The Scherers won’t forget Saturday. Mind you, neither will anybody else who was there before tip, when the 6A boys title game was preceded was preceded by a rendition of the National Anthem on an electric guitar so bonkers, it sounded more like Spinal Tap’s jazz odyssey before a festival crowd than the works of Francis Scott Key. Thankfully, “The Star Spangled Banner” found its way back from Mars about halfway through “bombs bursting in air,” so the rest of the crowd could help finish the song.

Scherer rocked harder, frankly.

And with 29.8 seconds left, as teammate Eli Kim headed to the free-throw line, young guard waved his arms to the sky, exhorting the Valor cheering section to raise whatever metal was left on the Coliseum roof.

The kid was feeling it.

He’s about to feel the pain from Friday night, too. Like tough times and spring flowers, sadly, adrenaline doesn’t last.

“The body’s going to be sore tonight,” the younger Scherer said, grinning like a champ. “But it’s all worth it.”

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