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Chargers swat away pesky Eagles

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By Lauren Gaddie-Johnson

In its basketball program, Chatfield senior basketball players are referred to as the “Terrific T’s.

But, Tyler Rogers, Taylor Rogers, and Tyler Haidaris better make room for one more T – junior Trevor Wages.

The 6-foot-7 center held his own in the Jan. 23 game against Dakota Ridge. Wages helped guide the Chargers to a 74-61 victory over the Eagles with a big second half contribution. He scored eight points, but more importantly he provided a strong post presence against a Dakota Ridge defense that was not going to back down.

“Every year Dakota Ridge is getting better and every year they’re coming to compete with us,” said Haidaris, who contributed nine points for the Chargers. “They were denying me pretty good and they did a really good job. We had to go to some different guys (for points) because they were pressuring us so much.”

In fact, the Eagles led 13-8 by the end of the first quarter.

But, Haidaris helped tie the game at 19 in the second quarter off a steal and a layup. Dakota Ridge’s Lenny Canny made a jumper to go up 21-19, but it was quickly answered with a putback from Chatfield’s Dean Wright.

Moh Musleh sank a 3-pointer to lift the Eagles, 24-21, but Wright also took a shot from the arc and landed a three which tied the game at 24.

After a back-and-forth second quarter, Chatfield’s Landon Vermeer hit a shot at the buzzer, and Chatfield (3-2 Jeffco, 10-4 overall) took a 35-29 lead by halftime. The Chargers scored an astounding 27 points in the second quarter alone.

“We were playing the hardest defense we’ve ever played early on and we just didn’t keep it up the whole game,” said Dakota Ridge senior Lenny Canny, who was the team’s second leading scorer with 14 points. “With them hitting the free throws in the third, that got us out of rhythm and gave them momentum.”

Chatfield was 6-for-9 in the third from the free-throw line and Wages scored half of his points in that period. Jordan Carter also stepped up for the Chargers with five of his 13 points in the third which helped Chatfield to a 15-point lead.

In the fourth, Dakota Ridge (0-5, 5-10) tried to fight its way back from the foul line, going 5-for-8, and a three from Danny DiFolco looked to put some life back in the Eagles. A jumper from DiFolco closed the gap within 10 at 60-50, but again Chatfield took advantage from the line.

The Chargers went 6-for-10 in the final minutes of the fourth which lifted them to a 72-55 lead.

A final basket from Carter sealed the win for Chatfield even though the Eagles were trying to gain ground from the foul line. In the last minute, Dakota Ridge made four of seven foul shots, but it was too late.

“Since the beginning of the season we weren’t sure how the chemistry was going to work,” said Vermeer, who finished with a team-high 16 points. “We now know that even though we’ve been in a little valley lately before this win, we can pull together and get out of it.

“We’re starting to achieve our goals and move forward.”