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Early run carries Rebel girls past Chargers

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By Dan Johnson

Kelley Pickens and Dilan Sutliff were catalysts for the Chatfield girls basketball team the last time they played rival Columbine.

The duo combined to score 27 points, leading the way to a 48-43 victory for the Chargers on the final day of the Jefferson County tournament.

On Jan. 23, the two schools met up again, and this time Pickens, Sutliff and the rest of the Chargers could do little to stop the Rebels.

Columbine broke the game open early with a 21-0 run that spanned most of the first quarter and part of the second, and cruised to a 51-37 Class 5A Jefferson County League victory at Chatfield Senior High School.

It’s the third straight win for the Rebels (2-0 Jeffco, 7-8 overall), who have not lost since the Jan. 12 game against Chatfield.

“We’ve played great basketball since that loss,” Columbine coach Jim Bartok said. “We’ve had great practices and the kids have been working really, really hard. We’ve made some defensive adjustments and we’re getting great contributions from our bench.”

Sophomore point guard Demitra Apergis led the Columbine charge, scoring a game-most 17 points. Apergis scored from pretty much every spot on the floor. She drove the ball to the rim for a handful of layups, pulled up at the free throw line and knocked down several mid-range jumpers, and also threw in a 3-pointer for good measure.

“We were really mad after we lost that tournament game to them,” Apergis said. “Our seniors didn’t want to lose to Chatfield their last year, so I think that really motivated the rest of us.”

When she wasn’t shooting, Apergis was busy setting up teammates for easy baskets. Early on, Molly Ramirez and Alyssa Maccan were the benefactors of Columbine’s good ball movement, as the duo scored 13 of the team’s 28 first half points.

“When you see your teammates knocking down shots, it gets you excited and you want to match what they’re doing,” Apergis said. “We’re competitive with each other in a good way.”

Junior post player Randee Hayes scored seven of her 10 points in the second half. Columbine led by as many as 21 points in the second half, but to their credit, the Chargers (0-2, 7-8) never quit and pulled to within 11 with 30 seconds remaining on a 3-pointer by Ali Grush.

Pickens and Sutliff were held to a paltry nine points by the Columbine defense. Chelsea O’Brien led Chatfield with 10 points, while Danae Morton added nine.

“We locked down on them pretty well,” Apergis said. “We didn’t want (Sutliff) shooting any 3-pointers, because that hurt us the last time. We put our best defenders on them and tried to not allow them to get the ball. I think we did a really good job of that.”

The Rebels next play Jan. 29, when they host Green Mountain, which is currently ranked No. 5 in the state.

“The confidence is definitely building,” Apergis said. “We’ve gotten three wins in a row, all by more than 10 points. We’re having more fun. We’re running harder, playing harder and playing more as a team.”

Columbine 17-11-12-11—51Chatfield 4-10-5-18—37

Columbine: Randee Hayes 4 2-3 10, Molly Ramirez 3 2-4 8, Alyssa Maccan 3 0-1 7, Lauren Lechner 1 0-0 2, Breanna Williams 0 1-2 1, Meagan O’Leary 1 0-0 2, Ellen Miks 2 0-0 4, Demitra Apergis 6 4-6 17. Totals: 20 9-16 51.

Chatfield: Danae Morton 3 3-4 9, Chrissy Armstrong 0 2-2 2, Kelley Pickens 2 3-5 7, Emily Kotulak 0 0-2 0, Chelsea O’Brien 4 2-3 10, Ali Grush 2 0-0 5, Dilan Sutliff 1 0-0 2, Cassandra Hanna 1 0-0 2. Totals: 13 10-16 37.

3-pt. goals: Maccan, Apergis; Grush. Fouled out: Hayes.