DENVER -- A winning streak coming to end Tuesday night at D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School was a certainty.
Green Mountain’s girls basketball team came in riding an 11-game winning streak, while the D’Evelyn Jaguars had won 35 straight Class 4A Jeffco League games dating back to the 2010-11 season.
D’Evelyn (12-3, 7-0 in league), ranked No. 8 in this week’s CHSAANow.com 4A girls poll, ran its conference streak to 36 games with a 58-50 victory over the Rams (13-3, 6-1). The Jaguars used their effective full-court press on defense and buried five 3-pointers to build a double-digit lead midway through the first half.
“It just shows that we are the best team in the league when we play our best game of basketball,” said D’Evelyn senior Malia Shappell, who led the scoring effort with 20 points. “We actually didn’t play our best basketball tonight, but we pulled it out and played as a family. It was a team effort.”
Shappell was hot from beyond the arc. The senior guard drained four 3-pointers through the first 11 minutes of the game.
“I’ve got to thank my teammates,” said Shappell, who finished with five 3-pointers on the night. “They found me when I was open.”
D’Evelyn coach Chris Olson was aiming for his team to make six to eight 3-pointers on the night. Sophomore Lexi Reed (14 points) hit a pair and senior Katie Cunniff sunk a 3-pointer in the final quarter to give the Jaguars eight 3-pointers for the game.
While D’Evelyn long-range shooting was on, Olson best described his team’s defense.
“We smothered (Green Mountain),” Olson said. “We wanted to make sure we started well. We know they are real physical and try to pound and pound to beat you up. If you don’t start well then you are going to play from behind against that and it’s really tough to do.”
Green Mountain coach Rudy Martin admitted it was a little difficult to prepare for D’Evelyn and its defensive pressure.
“It’s hard to simulate their length and quickness in practice,” Martin said. “I think we settled down in the second half and realized where we could pass it and where we couldn’t.”
The Rams’ leading scorer was held in check for most of the game. Freshman Delaney Bernard was clearly the focus when Green Mountain was able to break through the Jaguars’ pressure. The sharpshooter finished with a pair of 3-pointers and eight points.
Green Mountain found success in the second half with senior Kelli Van Tassel (13 points) and junior Brooklyn Gaffner (nine points) doing damage down low.
“We’ve just really wanted to beat (D’Evelyn) for a long time,” Van Tassel said. “We really didn’t talk about their streak. We just wanted to play well against them and hopefully get the win.”
Green Mountain will get another shot at D’Evelyn toward the end of conference play. The Rams will host the Jaguars on Feb. 13.
“Next time when they come to our place we’ll see if they hit those 3s,” Martin said. “It wasn’t like (Shappell) wasn’t covered half the time. We had a hand up in her face. She just made them. Shappell had a good game tonight.”
D’Evelyn and Green Mountain will both be on the road for 4A Jeffco games at 7 p.m. Friday. The Jaguars face Alameda. The Rams square off against Wheat Ridge.