Losing a 48-46 heartbreaker to Falcon High School in the first round of the Class 4A state basketball playoffs was a tough way to end the season for the Pueblo West boys.
Despite the loss, there was plenty of room for optimism moving forward.
The team finished the year with a 11-13 record. The Cyclones were 5-5 in the South-Central league, good for a third-place tie.
While everything about the numbers labels this team middle of the pack, they were anything but.
Coach Bobby Tyler’s teams all play a scrappy, full-time pressure defense. They score baskets in transition. And when forced to run a set offense, the Cyclones can be deadly from the 3-point arc.
In short, no team — not even the highly ranked ones — had an easy time with the Pueblo West boys.
Win or lose, the Cyclones made their opponents work for every basket and every rebound.
They did it with a roster laced with underclassmen.
The varsity featured only one senior — Jimmy Rhodes. The rest of the unit included six juniors, four sophomores and 1 freshman.
Junior David Arrietta led the bunch, leading the team in scoring (12.2 points per game) and rebounding (4.8 per game).
Freshman David Simental and junior Billy Daugherty added 9.o points a game.
Junior C.J. Davidson (4.7) and Daugherty (4.1) also were solid in the rebounding category.
Daugherty also pressured teams by hitting 46 of 115 3-point shots (40 percent).
Rhodes hit 19 of 47 3-point shots (also 40 percent), while the Cyclones as a team hit 131 of 354 from 3-point range (37 percent).
Defensively, Pueblo West recorded 143 steals as a team, led by Rhodes (27) and Arrieta (26).
The extra season of experience is expected to pay major dividends next season.
This season, Pueblo West played close to .500 ball while absorbing the lessons of what it takes to be a top team.
Next season, the Cyclones plan to use those learning experiences to teach some lessons of their own.
© Copyright 2016 The Pueblo Chieftain & Star Journal Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.