After strong start, Chargers thrown down the Mountain

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By Brian Forbes

LAKEWOOD – Since dressing your child in bubble wrap, or forcing them live in a bubble until they reach 18 is generally frowned upon, one can rest assured they will get hurt.

Bumps, bruises, pain, folly and anguish will always be just some of the medals of youth.

The young Chatfield Chargers got one of those medals stuck to their chests Feb. 14 when they blew a 15-point lead and lost 68-65 to Green Mountain after allowing the Rams to score 25 points in the fourth quarter.

“We didn’t play to win. We played not to lose,” Chargers coach Steve Schimpeler said. “There was one possession there – this wasn’t the difference in the game – where they deflected the ball and the ball is going out of bounds and (Green Mountain) went after it and all our guys stood and watched. That sums up where we were mentally.”

The loss could prove to be pivotal for the Chargers and their seeding in the upcoming Class 5A state tournament.

Chatfield dropped to 6-2 in the Jefferson County League (8-13 overall) while the Rams improved to 7-1 (14-6) and remain a game behind leader Arvada West. The Chargers are tied for third in Jeffco with Lakewood, which the Chargers visit on Feb. 20 in a crucial game.

The second-half fizzle was a stark contrast to a rousing first half.

The Chargers got Rams standout Jeff Aspegren in foul trouble, virtually eliminating him early on. Chatfield senior guard Trent Bishop picked up early fouls and had to sit, but the Chargers responded in the second quarter with 10 points from Jordan Carter and nine from Tyler Haidaris.

Tommy Fritze’s free throw 26 seconds before halftime gave the Chargers a 39-24 lead before things began to change.

The Rams picked up four quick points before halftime and then began to slowly take over the third quarter, pulling within 44-40.

Chatfield mustered its final response with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Bishop at the end of the third quarter to put the Chargers up 52-43. But that momentum was never capitalized upon as the Rams battled back behind Aspegren and hot-shooting guards Brian Hunt and sophomore substitute Keigan Peterson.

Aspegren’s 3-pointer with 1:52 remaining tied the score at 62. Chatfield went up 64-62 on Kyle Slavin’s free throws and the Chargers thought they got a crucial stop when Carter rebounded Aspegren’s errant shot. But as Carter thrashed around to avoid contact the ball came loose and went off his leg and out of bounds.

The Rams went for the throat with the extra possession as Peterson drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing to put the home team up with 25 seconds remaining.

Chatfield’s ensuing possession ended when Carter had his shot from the left block rejected by Green Mountain’s Peter Nordstrom. The Rams would make two more free throws to put the Chargers down.

Chatfield 16-23-13-13— 65

Green Mountain 11-17-15-25— 68

Chatfield – Bishop 6 4-5 18, Clements 0 1-2 1, Fritze 0 1-2 1, Vermeer 2 0-0 6, Carter 2 10-12 14, Haidaris 4 1-1 12, Slavin 3 2-2 8, Kurtenbach 1 2-2 4. Totals 18 22-28 65.

Green Mountain – Hunt 6 4-6 19, Juarez 1 2-3 4, Deignan 0 0-0 0, Nordstrom 2 3-4 7, Aspegren 6 1-3 15, Peterson 4 7-7 17, Sleeman 3 0-0 6, Martin 0 0-0 0, Garbarino 0 0-0 0, Newman 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 17-23 68.

3-point goals – Haidaris 3, Bishop 2, Vermeer 2; Hunt 3, Aspegren 2, Peterson 2.