Controversy as Colorado basketball single-game scoring records fall


With a pair of historic performances, two Colorado prep basketball legends were overwritten in the record books this winter.

The first came on Jan. 13 when Kennedy senior Keilani Venegas Alvarez dropped 64 points against Hinkley, overtaking the CHSAA single-game scoring mark of 61 set by ThunderRidge’s Abby Waner in 2005.

Five weeks later, Manual senior DeShawn Fox broke the single-game scoring record for the boys with 76 points against William Smith on Feb. 20, surpassing the 74-point bar set by Manual’s Chucky Sproling in 1987.

The scoring explosions by Venegas Alvarez and Fox generated both praise and criticism across social media and the Colorado basketball community, leaving some questioning the manner in which both marks were achieved and whether there is a right or wrong way to break a single-game record.

Denver East head coach Rudy Carey’s own internal debate, as Sproling’s coach at Manual when he broke the record under similar circumstances four decades ago, shows there’s no easy answers.

“I can’t point the finger,” Carey admits, “because I had the finger pointed back at me.”

The record-breaking performances

Venegas Alvarez got the watercooler debate going last month when she set the new scoring record in a 104-6 defeat of Hinkley.

Hinkley, which won five games total over the past three seasons, finished 61st out of 62 teams in the Class 5A RPI while going 0-18. Due to injuries, Hinkley played the entire second half against Kennedy with only five players.

After Venegas Alvarez put up 40 points in the first half, Kennedy head coach Jamar Baker said he wasn’t made aware of Waner’s record until he went to pull Venegas Alvarez in the middle of the third quarter and the scorer’s table informed him she was only six points away.

“In my head, I was like, ‘There’s no way I can rob this kid of this moment,’” Baker said. “So I put her back in and told her to go get the record. Once she got the record early in the fourth quarter, I sat her down.”

Venegas Alvarez shot 27 of 44 from the field, 3 of 6 from 3-point range and 7 of 10 from the stripe. The senior finished with 18 steals, and the majority of her points came on fast-break lay-ups.

Manual’s DeShawn Fox (5) shoots the ball over Yuma’s Cesar Gamboa (5) in the Thunderdome at Manual High School in Denver, Colorado on Friday, February 23, 2024. (Photo by Rebecca Slezak/ Special to The Denver Post)

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