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Chatfield girls remain perfect in Jeffco

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By Dan Johnson

When the 2008-09 girls basketball season, Chatfield looked like a team uncomfortable in its own skin.

Dropping six of its first seven games, Chatfield had a bumpy start transitioning to new coach Mike Deutsch’s up-tempo scheme.

After a bit of work, the road is much smoother now for the Chargers.

And, while the Dakota Ridge team the Chargers faced Jan. 23 isn’t as powerful as ones of the recent past, the team’s 48-43 win over the rival Eagles was significant for a number of reasons.

First among them was the fact that Chatfield seniors such as Dilan Sutliff, Chelsea O’Brien and Danae Morton had never tasted victory over Dakota Ridge.

“We haven’t beaten them since I’ve been here,” said Sutliff, who led the Chargers with 11 points. “It feels really good.”

Secondly, the win moved Chatfield to 5-0 in Class 5A Jefferson County League play. The mark put the Chargers in sole possession of first-place in the league standings entering the week, although tough games against Ralston Valley on Jan. 27 and Lakewood on Jan. 30 loom on the schedule.

“The consistency is finally coming and the chemistry is there,” said sophomore Cass Hanna, who provided a great lift off the bench against Dakota Ridge, knocking down three 3-pointers to finish with nine points. “That’s a credit to all the players on the team; the starters, the role players and the girls on the bench cheering us on.”

The Chargers (8-7 overall and winners of four straight) wasted little time seizing control of the game against Dakota Ridge (3-2, 6-9), although the method in which it did so was a little unconventional for them.

Starting forward Chrissy Armstrong, one the team’s top scoring threats, was forced to the bench midway through the opening quarter after picking up her second foul. At that time, the Chargers trailed 5-4. When the first quarter ended, Chatfield led 18-11 thanks to an 11-0 run.

Hanna was the catalyst for the Chatfield offensive explosion, as she knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, the second coming just before the first quarter buzzer sounded. Hanna, who also played scrappy defense, would hit another 3-pointer midway through the second quarter to account for her final points of the evening.

“Chrissy is a big part of the team and gets so much attention from so many teams,” Hanna said. “With her coming out, we had to rally around each other and figure out new spots and different ways to play. It was a good team effort.”

Armstrong returned to the floor in the second quarter, and while the Chargers struggled to find points, going nearly five minutes without a basket, their lead was never in serious jeopardy. A layup and 3-pointer by Dakota Ridge’s Janelle Baal brought the Eagles within two, but a three-point play by Armstrong, a jumper by Chelsea O’Brien and a putback by Danae Morton had the Chargers back up by eight entering halftime.

Sutliff carried the Chargers in the third quarter, scoring six of her team-high 11 points. She converted a three-point play to give Chatfield an 11-point edge and then all but put the game away with a running 3-pointer at the buzzer off an assist from Hanna.

“That was probably the coolest thing ever,” Sutliff said, laughing.

Up 40-27, Chatfield appeared to have the game in hand, but thanks to nine turnovers, nearly let the Eagles all the way back in the fourth. Baal, who led all scorers with 16 points, tried her best to rally Dakota Ridge, which amazingly has won just a single home game this season. Baal hit a pair of 3-pointers, the second drawing Dakota Ridge within 43-39 with 2 minutes, 58 seconds to play.

The deficit would shrink to three after Elisa Schauer made the first of two free throws with 48 seconds left but the Chargers were able to run a staggering 28 seconds off the clock before Morton was finally sent to the free-throw line, where she hit both shots to put the game out of reach.

After winning three straight, the loss was a small step back for the Eagles, who are still going through growing pains on the court.

“We weren’t talking as a team on the court,” said Baal, who had four 3-pointers. “We played good defense, but we struggled on offense. We had a lot of stupid turnovers and let them get a lot of offensive boards. We won the fourth quarter, but lost the other three.

“I really don’t know what happened. Whenever we play at home, we lose our consistency and take two steps back.”

 

Chatfield           18-10-12-8—48

Dakota Ridge   11-9-7-16—43

Chatfield: O’Brien 4 1-3 9, Armstrong 2 2-3 6, Sutliff 4 1-1 11, Hanna 3 0-0 9, Emily Kotulak 2 0-0 4, Kristina Kules 0 2-2 2, Morton 1 5-6 7.

Dakota Ridge: Liz Malik 2 0-0 4, Baal 6 0-0 16, Brooke Orcutt 3 3-4 9, Schauer 3 2-5 8, Jaime Brandhorst 1 4-4 6.

3-pt. goals: Hanna 3, Sutliff 2; Baal 4.