It doesn’t take much to swing momentum in a basketball game.
Fort Collins found that out — the hard way.
The Lambkins appeared on the verge of taking the lead in their Feb. 28 game against the Chatfield Chargers in the second round of the Class 5A boys state tournament game when they lost their heads — and, ultimately, the game, midway through the third quarter.
A technical foul and an intentional foul on consecutive possessions allowed the Chargers to rattle off seven straight points, pushing their lead back up to eight and they were never seriously challenged again as they marched on to the Sweet 16 with a 63-51 victory.
“Those two plays absolutely changed the game for us,” said junior Trevor Wages, who scored 16 points. “We couldn’t stop them and they had the momentum. All of a sudden those plays happened and we capitalized.”
Wages was a dominant presence early. The 6-foot-7 center scored 10 points in the first half as the Chargers (18-6) built a 24-18 lead.
Chatfield, which struggled to find the range in the second quarter, were finally penalized for its lack of offensive success in the third quarter by Fort Collins, which trimmed the deficit to a single point following a 3-pointer by Austin Maag.
Maag was hit with a technical seconds after his 3-pointer for using inappropriate language. Chatfield’s Landon Vermeer (he led the Chargers with 17 points) hit both free throws and on the Lambkins’ ensuing possession, Tyler Rogers stole the ball and on his drive to the basket, was fouled hard by Cody Spicer, whose foul was deemed intentional.
Rogers, who scored 12 points off the bench, sank both shots from the charity stripe and Vermeer drained a 3-pointer that gave the Chargers breathing room at 34-26.
“Coach just said if I’m open to shoot it,” said Rogers, who hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first half. “I did and the shots were falling.”
The Chargers didn’t let up on the gas pedal from there as Jordan Carter drained a 3-pointer and Wages hit a jumper at the buzzer to put the Chargers up 45-32 entering the fourth quarter.
In the final eight minutes For Collins drew as close as seven but the Chargers put the game away as Wages and Vermeer scored easy baskets in the paint, pushing the lead back to 13.
“We knew we had an advantage in the paint,” Chatfield coach Steve Schimpeler said. “Trevor did a great job establishing position and capitalizing when he got the ball.”
The Chargers play Doherty (21-3) at 8 p.m. March 5 at the World Arena in Colo. Springs.