Musically speaking, the Chatfield Chargers started out as a ragtime band Feb. 11 before blending into one serious five-piece funk group.
“I thought we played with a great deal of intensity,” coach Gary Anderson said after the Chargers’ 71-46 victory over rival Dakota Ridge. “That’s a good team. Once we got that press and running going …”
The Chargers found their rhythm.
In a battle essentially for the Class 5A Jefferson County League crown, the Chargers, who were nursing a 23-19 halftime lead, outscored the visiting Eagles 48-27 in the second half, including a 16-1 run midway through the fourth quarter.
Two days after grinding out a one-point victory over rival Columbine, the Chargers found their offensive swagger. But it was points from their role players that underscored a potential that has been intermittent since strong games in December and early January.
Kyle Evans scored 13 points, Kyle Slavin had nine points, seven rebounds and blocked two shots, and guard Dean Wright regained some confidence with six points in the fourth quarter.
Landon Vermeer led all scorers with 20 points, shaking off an 0-for-3 start that lasted into the second quarter. Jordan Carter scored seven of his 11 points in the first quarter as the Chargers avenged an earlier loss to the Eagles.
“Coach told me, ‘Don’t let anyone get a rebound,’” said Slavin, who got ample minutes over starting center Trevor Wages (two points, five rebounds). “I did that and was able to put a few points on the board. I don’t know. Something lit tonight, something sparked.”
For the Chatfield seniors, it was their last regular-season home match.
For the dogged Eagles, who are still without leading scorer Danny DiFolco (concussion), the loss came on the heels of a defeat at Arvada West.
The Eagles battled throughout a first half that had seven lead changes, but once the Chargers started scoring in bunches, they struggled to keep pace. The Eagles were down 15 in the third quarter, but cut the deficit to 50-41 on Logan Smith’s baseline 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter.
Eagles coach Curi Yutzy took a timeout to try and harness the momentum, but it was the Chargers who would explode on a 16-1 run and extend their lead out to 25 points.
“I was so proud of them for the first 27 minutes, and then it was almost the exact same way in the other direction in those last five minutes,” Yutzy said.
Derek VanderVelde led the Eagles with 12 points, Brandon Wilson scored nine and John Sherman had seven points and seven rebounds.