Brenden Mann wasn’t actually speechless, but the words to describe Chatfield’s 57-51 come-from-behind victory over rival Columbine on Feb. 22 were hard to come by.
The 5A Jeffco League boys basketball champions played like anything but that for most of the game. The Chargers trailed by 15 points in the second quarter and were down 10 early in the fourth to Columbine, which had senior leader Jon Snow for the duration in this one. Snow was injured early in the previous meeting — a 60-58 win at Columbine on Jan. 23 — that clouded somewhat the outcome of that game. But there was no doubt about this one.
“I don’t know what to say. It was just a huge win,” said Mann, who finished with a team-high 15 points. “The first one they played as good as they could with that group. They played incredible. We just dug deep and came out with the win.”
A vociferous standing-room only crowd at Chatfield Senior High School — even people who couldn’t get in the gym were watching from the windows above the court — saw the Chargers (22-1 overall, 16-0 5A Jeffco League) fall behind early in this one, but they never folded en route to their 20th consecutive victory.
“We knew we could do it even with Jon Snow. We are a good team and we’re going to the playoffs as a team,” said Chatfield junior forward Alec Wray, who added 13 points. “We were down 18-4 to start the second quarter, but we didn’t get our heads down though. We kept our heads up, we battled back, and we got that win.”
It wasn’t like Chatfield didn’t have anything to play for. Sure, it may have already locked up the school’s 13th league championship earlier in the week, but there was still an undefeated conference season, a top seed in the 5A state playoffs, and, shoot, it was Columbine. But not even that could motivate the Chargers early in this one.
“We just played the worst quarter we ever played. I have no explanation for it,” Mann said.
Still, they battled back. Mann gave Chatfield its first lead 47-46 on a 3-pointer with 3 minutes, 4 seconds left. A runner in the lane by Andrew St. Germain with 1:13 remaining gave the Chargers the lead for good. St. Germain and Darius Reiter finished with nine points each.
Snow finished with a game-high 23 points, but even that wasn’t enough as Columbine (18-5, 13-3) had its seven-game winning streak snapped.
“They’re just a great team. We knew they were going to make a run late. We tried to hold on, but we let them get open and they hit their shots,” said Snow, who suffered a concussion in the previous meeting after being hit in one of his eyes. It was feared initially that he had a scratched cornea, but, Snow said, that was not the case after doctors checked him out.
Columbine head coach Clay Thielking said it was Chatfield’s shooting that won out in the end.
“They got hot. They’re so good at making runs. They got hot at the right time,” Thielking said. “We had a hard time finishing plays. They got shooters and we left a couple of them open and they seemed to make everything there in the fourth quarter.”
Contact Michael Hicks at email@example.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.