LAKEWOOD — Evergreen seniors Chase Rogers and Bridger Tenney proved to be the 1-2 punch the Cougars’ boys basketball team needed Thursday night.
Evergreen (2-1 record) trailed early in the fourth quarter to Erie in the opening round of the Paul Davis Classic at Green Mountain High School. Rogers and Tenney took over in the fourth quarter combing for 13 points as the Cougars pulled away for a 64-55 victory.
“We trust our teammates, but at the same time, we have the most experience,” Rogers said of Evergreen’s two returning starters. “They trust the ball in our hands. In order to win that is what we need to do.”
Rogers finished with a game-high 22 points, which included five 3-pointers. Tenney started slow with just 3 points at halftime, but finished with 17 points.
“We don’t have too much varsity experience, but our team is really starting to mesh,” Tenney said. “This is a great tournament to work out all the kinks. It’s early in the season and we’ve got some stuff to work on.”
Erie (1-1) actually had a 14-0 run over nearly an 8-minute span in the first half to take a 9-point lead at one point. The Tigers had three players — Luke Loy, Jeffrey Farineau and Jadon Lucero — all finish in double-digits.
Besides Rogers and Tenney, the Cougars got nice contributions from seniors Andrew Aafedt (9 points), Jack Patterson (6 points) and Josh Fox (4 points).
“I was really proud of my kids,” said Evergreen coach Scott Haebe, who admitted he felt his team was in trouble down midway through the third quarter. “We knocked down a couple of shots and I felt we played really well in the fourth quarter.”
It will be a busy couple of weeks before the winter break for the Cougars. Evergreen has two more games in the Davis Classic, followed by four home games from Dec. 13-20.
“We need to keep ourselves busy with game-after-game because each game is a learning experience,” Rogers said. “For league, going in we need to know every single weakness and every single strength we have. We knew to know how to win games.”
Evergreen’s final non-league game before the holidays is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 20, against rival Conifer.
The Cougars jump into Class 4A Jeffco League play on the road against Standley Lake on Jan. 4. It will be a challenging 14-game conference schedule in one of the deepest leagues in 4A.
“Those 14 games are brutal,” Haebe said of the conference. “I’m hoping we go into break feeling good about where we are at, the growth we’ve had and chemistry. Once you get there you have to show up every night in league.”
Golden was the preseason No. 1 in the CHSAANow.com 4A boys basketball poll and defending 4A state champion Valor Christian is ranked No. 8. Evergreen and D’Evelyn both received preseason votes.
Evergreen finished third in the 4A Jeffco League last season, but was bounced out of the state tournament by rival Golden in the state quarterfinals.
“We have some great teams in our league,” Tenney said. “But with what teams have lost and what teams have coming back, I think we have a chance.”