ARVADA — Chatfield’s boys basketball team continued its domination in the Class 5A Jeffco League on Wednesday night.
The Chargers (19-1, 11-0 in league) all but officially wrapped up their second straight conference championship with a 77-60 road victory over Ralston Valley. Chatfield, ranked No. 3 in the latest CHSAANow.com 5A boys hoops poll, also has the longest winning streak in 5A with 18 straight victories.
“It feels good,” Chatfield senior Titus Reed said. “It’s a good achievement to put on the resume.”
Officially, Chatfield has a 3-game lead over Lakewood (14-5, 8-3) with 3 conference games remaining. The Chargers have already defeated the Tigers twice to win the tiebreaker. However, Chatfield coach Stephen Schimpeler would like to grab the conference title outright.
“We don’t what to share. Is that selfish or what?” Schimpeler joked.
The Chargers have stampeded through 5A Jeffco for the past two seasons. Chatfield is on a 27-game league winning streak. The Chargers’ last conference lost was to Arvada West nearly two years ago during the 2014-15 season.
“We know it. It’s in the back of our heads,” Chatfield senior Alex Beckley said of the Chargers’ conference winning streak. “We are just looking to win each game.”
Chatfield has three league games remaining where it can complete a second straight undefeated record in the conference. The Chargers’ last league road game is at 7 p.m. Friday at Bear Creek. Chatfield closes out conference play with home games next week against rivals Dakota Ridge and Columbine.
“It would be nice to have all of our weapons in our arsenal ready to go,” Reed said referring to the Chargers playing without leading score Joe Miks for the second straight game with an injury. “We’re just focused on getting these last three games and go into playoffs with a good mindset.”
Reed got the Chargers off to a good start Wednesday night. The versatile 6-foot-4 forward poured in 14 points in the opening quarter as the Chargers jumped out to a 24-12 lead after the first eight minutes.
Reed finished with a game-high 26 points. Beckley was the other Charger to reach double-digit with 11 points. Beckley missed some games early with a foot injury. The point guard said he still isn’t 100 percent, but it’s coming along.
“We haven’t been healthy the entire year,” Schimpeler said. “I think this is good for our team if we can get those guys healthy at the right time. It will help our bench. There are a lot of good signs, but we still have to make it happen.”
Chatfield’s full-court press led to some early turnovers that helped the Chargers get out to a comfortable lead. Ralston Valley was also shorthanded with senior Trey Sayers sidelined with a concussion.
“What really hurt us was not having Trey Sayers in. He is our rebounder who gets those loose balls around the rim,” Ralston Valley coach Mitch Conrad said. “Chatfield got double-digit offensive rebounds tonight. We don’t give up those rebounds, but tonight we did without him (Sayers) in the lineup.”
The Mustangs were led by sophomore Isaac Townsend’s 10 points. Seniors Filip Rebraca, Jerrod Parker and freshman Caden Gigstad had eight points each as Ralston Valley (11-9, 6-5) saw it’s 4-game winning streak come to and end.
Ralston Valley got a late-season addition of an athletic 6-foot-7 transfer. Rebraca, who is from Serbia, started taking classes second semester at Ralston Valley. His father, Zeljko Rebraca, played in the NBA from 2001-07.
“He (Rebraca) really changes the game like Coach Conrad said,” Schimpeler said of Rebraca who had an impressive dunk in transition during the second half. “He is pretty athletic.”
The Mustangs travel to face Dakota Ridge at 7 p.m. Friday before closing out the regular season against Columbine and rival Arvada West next week. Ralston Valley could still finish in the top-3 in the league and have a home playoff game in the opening round of the 48-team state tournament.
“We still have three winnable games left,” Conrad said of Ralston Valley’s schedule before the postseason. “If we can pull that off and win seven of our last eight — the loss to one of the best teams in the state — we would go in with some momentum still.”
The 5A state bracket will be announced Sunday, Feb. 19. First-round games will be played Wednesday, Feb. 22. Chatfield is likely in line for a top seed and grab one of the 16 first-round byes for the state tournament.
“We can’t take any of the upcoming three games for granted,” Beckley said. “We are looking for a strong push toward playoffs.”