Fear remains one of the best motivators in life.
On Dec. 11, fear produced one of the most fundamentally sound basketball games the Chatfield boys program has produced in arguably a decade.
Fresh off an upset loss to Palmer, the Chargers unleashed darn near every ounce of talent and teamwork in their bodies as they throttled second-ranked Arapahoe 66-44 in a Class 5A nonleague victory.
The third-ranked Chargers (4-1) played with poise and focused their intensity on the game rather than the referees. Their defensive efforts and help-side support took away the Warriors’ dribble penetration, and the Chargers rebounded and shot the lights out offensively to the tune of sinking 11 3-pointers.
“I think what we were motivated by was mostly by fear,” Chargers coach Gary Anderson said. “We were afraid of getting embarrassed, and (the Warriors) will embarrass you. If you don’t close out on them, you don’t help out on them, they can be a scoring machine. There’s a reason they’re ranked No. 2 in the state.”
Landon Vermeer owned the highlight reel as the senior drained 6-of-7 3-point shots, scoring all his game-high 23 points in the first three quarters.
Vermeer drilled the wide-open looks, the ones with a hand in his face, even the one from the right wing when he got hacked just as he released the ball. He could have been shooting ping-pong balls from half court and they would have touched nothing but the bottom of the net.
“I wasn’t coming out expecting I would shoot that good,” Vermeer said. “I give all the credit to my teammates.”
Dean Wright scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, and 6-foot-8 center Trevor Wages scored 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Even more impressive was Wages’ hustle, which saw him diving on the floor in a spirit that infected all the Chargers.
Everything Chatfield did had golden results. They controlled the tempo and always seemed to make the perfect pass — whether it was to spark a fast break, or an extra pass to find the open man for a shot.
Kyle Evans hit two 3-pointers, while Danny Vaninger’s only basket was a 3-ball.
The Chargers led 17-3 after the first quarter and refused to let the Warriors (3-1) have a run. The Chargers led by 18 in the second quarter, 26 in the third quarter and took their big lead at 66-39 on Wright’s layup with just over a minute remaining.
“Arapahoe is great,” Anderson said. “Nobody would have predicted this kind of game.”
Chatfield was defeated 63-59 by Palmer on Dec. 9. The Chargers will play at Rangeview (6-1) on Dec. 19 before taking two weeks off for Winter Break.
Chatfield: Wright 4 2-2 12, Evans 2 0-0 6, Vermeer 8 1-1 23, Wages 4 3-4 11, Carter 3 3-4 9, Slavin 0 2-3 2, Vaninger 1 0-0 3, Treece 0 0-0 0, Martinez 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 11-14 66.
3-point goals: Vermeer 6, Wright 2, Evans 2, Vaninger.