Rivalry games should have one automatic: Intensity.
The stands should be full, the crowd should be loud and the game should be electric.
Our side vs. Your side. These colors vs. Those colors. You vs. Us.
Against Dakota Ridge on Dec. 12, the Chatfield Chargers fought like Switzerland for 28 minutes before they finally went on a serious offensive.
“Coach got on us a little bit,” Chatfield’s Tyler Rogers said after the Chargers erupted in the final four minutes for a 69-48 Class 5A Jefferson County League victory over the Eagles.
Tyler Rogers and twin brother Taylor combined to score 13 points in the fourth quarter, picking up many of those points from the free-throw line, as the Chargers turned a 48-44 lead into a rout. Taylor was 6-for-6 at the charity stripe and Tyler was 8-for-9 as the Chargers (8-3 Jeffco, 16-5 overall) won their fifth straight.
“When we get in the 1-and-1, it’s really easy,” Taylor Rogers said. “We got it in our hands.”
It didn’t always look that way.
The Eagles (3-8, 8-13) had more zip, polish and desire for much of the game.
They struggled with turnovers but battled with enough gusto to keep things close. On a better day, the Eagles might have put the Chargers away, but 25 turnovers, unnecessary fouls and rushing some shots from 3-point range dogged them.
“We said we have to keep them off the line,” Eagles coach Curi Yutzy said of the Chargers. “Both halves, right off the bat, we got in foul trouble and put them on the line.”
Trevor Wages led the Chargers with 16 points, Landon Vermeer added 13 and the Rogers brothers finished with 10 points apiece.
Derek VanderVelde scored 13 points and Danny DiFolco added 12 – both off the bench – for the Eagles. Logan Smith (10 points) was the only Eagles’ starter in double figures.
There were 14 lead changes in the first three quarters and neither team led by more than five points.
Chatfield finally showed signs of separation when junior varsity swingman Kyle Evans had a steal and layup to put the Chargers up 42-35 early in the fourth quarter. The Eagles brought it back to a two-basket game with 4:38 remaining as VanderVelde’s sank two free throws to cut Chatfield’s lead to 48-44.
Then two things happened: The Chargers could do no wrong, and the Eagles couldn’t buy, beg, borrow or steal a basket.
The Rogers Brothers took the spotlight with a series of knifing layups, steals and free throws to put the Chargers up 59-44 with 2:54 left. Less than a minute later it was 66-44 after VanderVelde picked up a technical foul and the visiting fans were serenading the home lot.
Aside from their final burst, there wasn’t much to cheer about for the Chargers, who were lethargic in their offense and left holes on defense as the Eagles spread and stretched the floor. Chatfield’s struggles were illustrated in senior Tyler Haidaris, who was 0-for-3 from the field and 1-for-6 from the free-throw line in an uncharacteristic performance.
The Eagles probably need to win their two remaining games against Bear Creek and Columbine to make the 5A state tournament. The Chargers host Green Mountain in a key rematch Feb. 20.