Chargers overcome slow start to reach Sweet 16

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Chatfield finds shooting touch to topple Loveland

By Michael Hicks

Eight days, especially for a team on a 20-game winning streak, is a long time between games. Chatfield’s first-quarter shooting woes showed as much. Yet, even after shooting just 4-for-20 from the field in the game’s opening eight minutes, it was no excuse.
When it comes to the 5A boys basketball state playoffs, one has to come ready to play game in and game out. There is no tomorrow. Chatfield came ready, even if its shots weren’t falling early. The Chargers played tenacious defense, which kept the 5A Jeffco League champions in the game. And then when their shots started falling, late in the second quarter and into the third and fourth, the top-seeded Chargers were rolling toward a 62-47 win over visiting Loveland on March 2.
“With playoff games, it’s real easy to come out with energy. We definitely had it,” said Chatfield senior guard Brenden Mann, who scored a game-high 19 points.
The win at Chatfield Senior High School sends the Chargers (23-1) into the Sweet 16 against fifth-seeded Legend (19-6), a 76-67 upset winner over No. 4 Grandview, on March 6. The victor advances to the Elite Eight two nights later at the Denver Coliseum against the winner between Fairview and ThunderRidge.
The Chargers closed the first half on a 9-1 run. It was a 12-point swing from late in the first quarter, when they trailed 13-6, to halftime, when Chatfield found itself ahead 26-21.The cushion grew to 15 points by game’s end. And it all happened after a first quarter in which the Chargers couldn’t buy a basket. “Sometimes shots just are not going to fall. Tonight, that’s just how it was for us,” said senior forward Anthony Shoeboot, who scored 14 points. It was his six consecutive points on back-to-back-to-back layups late in the first half that gave Chatfield the lead for good.
“He had a great game. I’m so happy for Anthony. He did a really good job on the inside,” Chatfield Senior head coach Steve Schimpeler said. “We went through a stretch there where he gave us that momentum, because early on it was a battle.”
While Loveland (15-10), which had three players — Ryan Andrews, David Schlecht and Conor Lang — score 10 points each, led early, Chatfield wasn’t overly concerned with its shooting woes.
“We weren’t taking bad shots. We had some good looks. We normally hit those,” Schimpeler said. “We are a perimeter team. You’re going to have nights like this, but we found a way to get it done.
“I thought our defense was solid all night. I didn’t think we were bad offensively. Our shots just weren’t going. We need to do a better job rebounding.”

Contact Michael Hicks at sports@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.