ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Tigers tame Chargers

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By Brian Forbes

Kelley Pickens found a certain satisfaction at the sight of Lakewood’s starting five lined up along the scorer’s table with 21 seconds remaining.

Call it a small measure of victory.

The Chatfield Chargers, minus nearly three starters, had been hammered by the Tigers in the first half and throughout most of the third quarter in their Class 5A Jefferson County League game Feb. 20.

The Chargers were singlehandily outscored by Tigers’ standout Erica Hicks until the fourth quarter and trailed by 22 points with less than five minutes remaining in the third.

Yet a respectable rally cut the deficit to 49-40 with 21 seconds remaining, forcing Lakewood coach Jerry Fitzgerald to get his starters back on the floor to stop the bleeding.

“That was good,” Pickens said after Chatfield’s 51-42 loss. “I was glad because we had a good comeback there, especially when they came back in.”

Pickens led Chatfield (11-11, 4-5 in Jeffco) with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and junior Danae Morton scored 10 points as the Chargers did not roll over despite a first half that was tough to watch. Lakewood improved to 18-4, 8-1 in Jeffco, and can wrap up the top high seed for the state basketball tournament with a victory Feb. 22 against Bear Creek.

Chatfield made just two baskets before halftime, missing 20 shots, while racking up more turnovers (13) than points (8). The Chargers moved the ball slowly, set few screens and many times settled for rushed shots and few second chances.

Hicks, who finished with 28 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots, poured in 13 points in the first quarter and had 18 by halftime as the Chargers managed just eight.

Things did get better. The Chargers just loosened up, ran the offense and picked up points in transition.

“Whenever we get freaked out and stuff, we try to have fun,” Pickens said. “We were so hesitant. It was weird not having some of our starters and (the Tigers) were kind of intimidating.”

Chatfield eventually matched Lakewood’s scoring in the third quarter and outscored the visitors 21-13 in the fourth quarter to make things interesting. Chelsea O’Brien scored six of her seven points after halftime and Chatfield shot 9-for-16 in the fourth quarter compared to Lakewood’s 4-for-17 effort.

“We played hard,” Chargers coach Jeff Mages said. “We’re still playing hard.”

Chatfield did end with 27 turnovers while the Tigers committed 23.

Chatfield wraps up the regular season Friday at Pomona (10-12, 2-7 in Jeffco).

Lakewood 17 8 13 13 - 51

Chatfield 4 4 13 21 - 42

Lakewood – Rosa 3 1-2 7, Cator 1 1-2 3, Hicks 9 5-10 28, Kern 0 0-0 0, Goodall 5 2-2 12, Mefford 0 1-2 1, Clark 0 0-1 0, Storrer 0 0-0 0, Martinez 0 0-1 0, Rodriguez 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 10-20 51.

Chatfield – Kurtenbach 1 0-0 2, Hanna 2 1-2 6, Morton 3 4-4 10, O’Brien 3 1-2 7, Pickens 7 1-2 15, Kotulak 0 0-0 0, Smart 1 0-0 2, Kules 0 0-0 0, Herrick 0 0-0 0, Howard 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 7-10 42.

3-point goals – Hicks 5; Hanna.