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Chatfield outlasts rival Columbine

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By Levi Waddell

LITTLETON — In a game that had everything one would expect from rival schools, the Chatfield Chargers outlasted the Columbine Rebels 63-56 on Jan. 24 in front of a packed house.

Chatfield seniors Liam Mann, Keland Rumsey and Isaiah Reed were fundamental to the team’s success.

“Back-to-back rivalry games with the wins, it feels great and obviously we needed it by the way we started league. We’re just hoping to continue that further down the road,” Rumsey said.

In a back-and-forth first quarter that saw both teams trading buckets and turnovers frequently, Chargers freshman Dylan Carter was the x factor.

Carter scored five of his seven points in the first, but Columbine senior Mat Bergeman hit a crucial buzzer-beater to end the quarter, leaving the score 11-10 in favor of Chatfield.

“He’s a talented freshman, lives and dies basketball, you know, and he’s a big part of our future, so we need to give him some exposure,” Chatfield head coach Steve Schimpeler said of Carter.

The second quarter was one of runs, as both teams found themselves on hot streaks at different points. Columbine post players Justin Lohrenz and Cody Ramming began to assert themselves offensively, as the pair were able to effectively score down low.

“I thought they did a much better job on the boards than we did,” Schimpeler said regarding Columbine’s post players.

Lohrenz finished with 16 points and helped keep his team in it as Chatfield began to feel it from beyond the arc.

Chatfield junior Luke Carlson was able to effectively attack Columbine’s 1-3-1 zone, as his back-to-back threes helped energize the crowd as the half was coming to a close, with the Chargers up 31-27 headed into the break.

As the third quarter started, Chatfield was on a mission to put the game out of reach. After finding itself up 39-29, it looked as if the game was about to get out of hand. However, Columbine senior Braxton Baum’s five straight points contributed to a 7-0 run for the Rebels, bringing the score to 39-36 with 2:48 left in the third.

The Chargers responded with a run of their own, as they capitalized on a couple of and-one opportunities to extend the lead to 47-36. With a 49-38 lead headed into the fourth quarter, the Chargers needed a strong opening to close the game for good.

Luke O’Brien helped keep the Rebels in it in the fourth quarter, as his strong inside game and smooth jumper were a problem for the Chatfield defense. However, O’Brien’s team-high 17 points simply weren’t enough to best Chatfield’s balanced offensive attack.

O’Brien felt there were several things his team could have done better to put itself in a better position to win.

“I think we could have done a better job defensively. I mean, down the stretch we were letting them blow by us a lot, and we didn’t rebound as well as we should have,” O’Brien said. “I mean, our offense was good tonight, I just feel like if our defense was better we should have won the game.”

On the other side, Rumsey was strong on the offensive end in the closing minutes, as his relentless drives to the hole led to some tough finishes around the basket. Rumsey, who finished with a team-high 13 points, is one of the most important players on the team in Schimpeler’s eyes.

“Keland is just tough, Keland is our heart and we need to have him on the court, and he missed the first half of the season pretty much,” Schimpeler said.

Columbine head coach Clay Thielking said his team’s defensive effort simply wasn’t enough to get the job done. Although his post players showed some grit, he thought his team as a whole was lacking.

“Honestly, I was a little bit disappointed in our competitive spirit, and that’s unacceptable,” Thielking said. “It’s something that we’ll fix, but I do credit Chatfield. Those guys played hard and are the team that deserved to win.”