DENVER — While the roads were tough to maneuver Wednesday night, D’Evelyn’s defense was just as stiffing on the basketball court as the snow and ice outside.
The Jaguars held Green Mountain to nine field goals in the Class 4A Jeffco League boys hoops game at D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School. D’Evelyn (8-5, 4-1 in league) won its fifth game since the winter break with a convincing 63-28 victory.
“We really had a great second quarter,” D’Evelyn coach Troy Pachner said. “For us to be at our best defense primes offense and that is exactly what happened.”
Pachner admitted it was a “bizarre” first quarter with the Jaguars knotted in a 6-6 tie with the Rams (5-7, 2-3) through the first eight minutes. D’Evelyn quickly took control in the second quarter with a 10-0 run in the opening two minutes.
Junior Cameron Brown sparked the Jaguars with eight points in the second quarter. D’Evelyn eventually took a 28-10 lead going into halftime.
“Our press game, we just picked it up in the second quarter,” said Brown, who finished with 10 points. “We started playing our brand of basketball and ran them out of the gym.”
Green Mountain was coming off a big win at Wheat Ridge last Friday, but Rams’ coach Derek Van Tassel admitted his team wasn’t focused enough to get the road victory Wednesday.
“We were being in a rush when we didn’t need to be,” Van Tassel said of the Rams’ turnovers that turned into easy baskets for the Jaguars. “We are young so we are learning a lot at times.”
Junior Austin Fritts led the way offensively for Green Mountain with nine points, well below his 18.5 average coming into the game. Alec Stowell and Anthony Martinez pitched in five points each for the Rams as they had their two-game winning streak snapped.
“We were just trying to provide traffic, showing traffic,” Pachner said of the defensive plan on Fritts. “He (Fritts) is an excellent athlete. He can rise up. Our plan was to put him into tough shots and do our job on the boards.”
D’Evelyn had a balanced scoring attack led by seniors Grant Witherspoon (15 points), Christian Denton (11 points) along with Brown’s 10 points. Junior Jack Draeb also contributed eight points as 11 Jaguars scored on the night.
“Grant (Witherspoon) is a great player, but we have a lot of guys who step up and except that challenge of scoring,” Pachner said. “Cam (Brown) has probably been the best in the group. When we start getting two or three guys (in double-figures) each night we are going to be pretty tough.”
The Jaguars sit in good position in the conference. The 4A Jeffco League is split into two divisions this season. D’Evelyn has a 4-0 mark against divisional rivals Arvada, Green Mountain, Standley Lake and Wheat Ridge through the first go-around.
Pachner hopes to hold the top spot in the division to get another shot at the winner of the other division at the end of the regular season. Golden (11-2, 5-0), ranked No. 2 in the CHSAANow.com 4A boys hoops poll, sits atop the other division. The Demons edged D’Evelyn last week for its lone conference loss.
“We for sure what another shot at Golden,” Brown said.
D’Evelyn had an uncommonly slow start to the season that included a three-game losing streak.
“A typical D’Evelyn season is we start out really well and kind of go down at the end,” said Witherspoon, a four-year varsity player. “It’s kind of opposite this year. We feel like we are a top-10, maybe top-5 team. We are just continuing to raise our level of play.”