The Chatfield Chargers led for a total of 28.7 seconds Feb. 9. Six of those seconds happened to be the most important.
Senior Landon Vermeer wiped away a frustrating night when he cashed two free throws with 6.7 seconds remaining to give the Chargers a wild 49-48 Class 5A Jefferson County League victory over the hard-luck Columbine Rebels.
“I was just kind of saying to myself, ‘This is in.’ Not thinking of anything else besides making them,” Vermeer said.
It was just the second time the Chargers led all night. Jordan Carter’s layup early in the fourth quarter was the first lead, which lasted 22 seconds before Michael Huntington’s jumper put the Rebels back on top.
After Vermeer’s free throws, the Rebels didn’t get a smooth chance for a dramatic win. Huntington’s inbound pass to Nick Carpinello was overthrown and Chatfield’s Dean Wright grabbed the ball and was fouled.
Wright missed the front end of his one-and-one situation, Columbine’s Adam Wilson grabbed the rebound, outlet the ball to Nick Isenburg, who got off a contested 3-pointer at the horn that rimmed out.
“They had a great game,” Vermeer said of the Rebels. “We were just able to find it, somehow, our teammates just picked it up in the end.”
Trevor Wages carried the Chargers, who got no baskets from Wright and 10 points from Vermeer, who was dogged by Columbine’s defense and got in foul trouble. Wages scored 19 points on 9-for-10 shooting, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked two shots.
The Rebels got 13 points and seven rebounds from Wilson, 12 points from Isenburg and 10 from Carpinello. Neil Myer (seven points) grabbed seven rebounds and showed off a gritty resolve in the fourth quarter that seemed to point toward a huge upset, and deserved Columbine victory.
“We were outplayed, outhustled and outcoached,” Chatfield coach Gary Anderson said.