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D’Evelyn hoops falls to Evergreen for second time

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By Michael Kelly

DENVER — The D’Evelyn Jaguars were right there with the ninth-ranked Evergreen Cougars on Jan. 31 when, with 1:08 left in the first quarter, the Jaguars boys basketball team tied the game on two free throws by Charles Dinegar.

But then Evergreen’s defense got tough, holding D’Evelyn to four points over the next 7:51, grabbing a nine-point lead and never relinquished it in a 68-56 win at D’Evelyn High School.

The victory gave the Cougars (15-4, 8-2) a season sweep against their 4A Jeffco League rivals, and they now are on a three-game winning streak after beating Littleton on Friday night.

Throughout the matchup, Evergreen’s Jack Patterson dominated on offense with 20 points, followed closely by Bridger Tenney, who added 16. As always, Charles Dinegar led the Jaguars with 21 points, with Cole Clifton contributing16.

Getting the win over D’Evelyn (10-9, 5-4) was a little easier than the 61-55 victory at Evergreen on Jan. 6 when the Cougars had trouble against the Jaguars’ press. On Jan. 31, they had only nine turnovers and came up with big runs whenever D’Evelyn got close.

“I was really happy with our poise because last time, at our place, we were really struggling with the press and that trap,” Evergreen coach Scott Haebe said.

D’Evelyn suffered more than a loss in the standings. Grant Jones and Matt Hansen both left the Jan. 31 game with ankle injuries and didn’t return.

It became a tough hill to climb for the young Jaguars, who trailed by as many as 14 in the fourth quarter.

“It was Grant’s first game back from concussion, and he goes down,” said Dinegar, who led the Jaguars with a game-high 21 points. “They’re two of our big energy guys and help us on defense.”

Despite losing two key players, D’Evelyn didn’t fold. Trailing 49-35 early in the fourth, Cole Clifton hit a 3-pointer and Daniel Brady made another shot to make it 49-40 with 6:47 left, the closest it was since 34-29 midway through the third quarter.

The Cougars didn’t panic. Senior Andrew Aafedt grabbed an offensive rebound and scored, and then hit another shot to push the lead back to 13.

Every time D’Evelyn got the chance to make it a close game in the fourth quarter, the Cougars pushed back and wouldn’t give them any leverage. Jack Patterson nailed a 3-pointer with 3:51 left to make it 56-42.

“We know we’re a good shooting team; we can get our buckets when we want them,” said Patterson, who had a team-high 20 points.

“We weren’t worried when they cut it down to five. We knew we were going to get our shots and make them.”

D’Evelyn got shots but struggled at times to hit them. It contributed to the drought in the first half that allowed Evergreen to take the lead for good.

“The whole game we were stuck on offense,” Jaguars coach Dan Zinn said. “We weren’t executing on the offensive end, and we were allowing too many second-chance opportunities for them.”

The struggles on offense and Evergreen’s poise were too much for D’Evelyn.

“They hit a lot of big shots, clutch shots, tough shots,” Dinegar said. “We’ve got to do a better job of clamping down on defense and getting big stops.”