Charger boys cruise to victory over Eagles in Jeffco opener

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By Brian Forbes

After getting kicked around at times during a brutal nonleague schedule, the Chatfield Chargers finally got to return the favor.

The fact that it was the start of Class 5A Jefferson County League play made it sweet.

The fact that it was rival Dakota Ridge on its home floor made it a slice of dreamland.

Chatfield played its best defense of the season Friday night, wrapping a sleeper hold around the Eagles in a 50-32 victory that was never really close.

The Chargers harassed the Eagles everywhere but their huddle, forced turnovers and bad shots galore while shooting a toasty 51 percent (20-for-39) from the floor.

It wasn’t perfect for the young team, but it was the end of a two-game losing streak and Chatfield’s third victory in 13 games.

“Our practices for the past week have been all about defense,” Chatfield senior guard Trent Bishop said. “That’s everything we’ve been doing.”

Bishop knocked down two 3-pointers to lead all scorers with 18 points. At halftime, the Chatfield floor general had 13 points compared to Dakota Ridge’s 10.

Landon Vermeer scored nine points and junior guard Tyler Haidaris added eight for the Chargers, who will host Columbine (5-9, 1-0 Jeffco) tonight in a rivalry doubleheader.

“We came out really hungry and we knew this was a good game and a big game for our seniors,” Haidaris said. “Considering our nonconference schedule was tough, we wanted to come out strong and hope it would carry us over.”

Dakota Ridge (5-7, 0-1) dropped its third straight and was held under 40 points for the third time this season.

Eagles coach Jeff Parriott called three timeouts in the first half but could never get his team to respond as the Chargers pulled out to a 24-8 lead on Bishop’s baseline 3-pointer a minute before halftime.

The Eagles made just 12 baskets, shot 27 percent from the floor and were 4-for-11 from the free-throw line – numbers nearly as cold as the temperature outside.

“Everybody got frustrated because we couldn’t get good looks, couldn’t get anything on defense, couldn’t execute,” Eagles senior Justin Dunn said. “We were prepared; we just didn’t come to play tonight.”

Senior guard Andy McDonnell and junior forward Cameron Pritchett led the Eagles with six points apiece. Pritchett added six rebounds.

After Chatfield – wearing its “lucky” black jerseys – took the first quarter 13-4, the Eagles were held scoreless for nearly three minutes to start the second quarter. Dunn’s free throw made it a 17-5 deficit, but the Eagles would have to wait until another three minutes before McDonnell’s floater in the lane dropped for their first basket of the quarter.

Dakota Ridge mounted one brief rally, cutting the deficit to 28-17 on Austin Meldrum’s 3-pointer midway through the third quarter. The Chargers took a timeout and responded with a 12-0 run to reach its big lead 19 seconds before the start of the fourth quarter when Vermeer’s 3-pointer from the right wing made it 40-17.

The Eagles will visit Bear Creek (6-8, 0-1) tonight.

Chatfield 13 13 14 10 - 50

Dakota Ridge 4 6 10 12 - 32

Chatfield – Bishop 7 2-2 18, Haidaris 3 2-3 8, Slavin 1 0-0 2, Vermeer 4 0-0 9, Carter 3 1-2 7, Clements 1 0-0 3, Fritze 1 1-1 3, Kurtenbach 0 0-0 0, Ta. Rogers 0 0-0 0, Wright 0 0-0 0, Wages 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 6-8 50.

Dakota Ridge – Meldrum 1 0-0 3, McDonnell 3 0-0 6, Cain 1 0-0 2, Pritchett 2 1-2 6, Dunn 0 1-2 1, Musleh 2 0-0 5, Loupee 2 0-3 4, DiFolco 1 1-2 4, Canny 0 0-0 0, Sherman 0 1-2 1. Totals 12 4-11 32.

3-point goals – Bishop 2, Clements, Vermeer; Meldrum, Pritchett, Musleh, DiFolco.