D'Evelyn boys hoops rallies against 3A No. 7 Faith Christian

DENVER — The mid-season jumpstart D’Evelyn’s boys basketball team needed might have come Tuesday night with a non-league victory over a formidable foe.

The Jaguars overcame a halftime deficit to Faith Christian, ranked No. 7 in the Class 3A boys hoops CHSAANow.com rankings, to grab a much-needed 68-58 victory.

“It’s non-league, so it wasn’t the end of the world,” D’Evelyn coach Dan Zinn said after the 10-point home victory. “But we need to be able to put games like this away and in the ‘W’ column. We haven’t been doing that this season so that was good to get tonight.”

Faith (6-5, 0-2 in 3A Metro League) held a 36-35 halftime advantage. Senior Jonah Gardner poured in 11 of his team-high 19 points in the first half.

D'Evelyn's Cole Clifton (23) is challenged by Faith's Benjamin Hawkins. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

However, D’Evelyn (6-7, 1-3 in 4A Jeffco League) turned things around on the defensive end and got more players involved offensively in the third quarter. The Jaguars outscored Faith 15-7 in the opening eight minutes of the second half.

“Our defense in the third quarter completely shut them down,” D’Evelyn senior Cole Clifton said. “We got the momentum swing we needed to get the lead.”

D’Evelyn junior Evan Willis (10 points) was scoreless in the first half, but nailed a pair of 3-pointers on his way to eight points in the third quarter. Junior Dan Brady (10 points) also hit a key 3-pointer for the Jaguars to help turn the tide.

Charles Dinegar had 18 points in the first half for D’Evelyn to keep the Jaguars in the game. He finished with a game-high 22 points, but Zinn knows Dinegar can’t be a one-man show.

“We have to have other guys step up. It can’t be the Charles Show,” Zinn said. “Charles is going to be the featured figure, but it can’t be his show alone. It’s got to be a team one.”

Faith's Jacob Thielen plays defense from his knees Tuesday night. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Clifton finished with 18 points as D’Evelyn got closer to the .500 record mark after losing 3 of 4 conference games to start league play.

“Every game from here on out is important. You can’t have any games off,” Clifton said. “We stepped up tonight in the second half. It’s nice to get out of this slump.”

D’Evelyn gets back into 4A Jeffco play with a pair of road games this week. The Jaguars head to Standley Lake tomorrow (Wednesday) and Littleton on Friday.

The Jaguars need to get on track in conference play if they want to get in the league title mix with 4A’s top-10 ranked Evergreen (11-2, 4-0), Valor Christian (7-6, 4-0) and Golden (10-3, 3-1). D’Evelyn’s three league losses have come against those ranked teams, but the Jaguars will get another shot at all of them during the second go-around with league games.

“(Faith) is a great team. It was a great team win,” Dinegar said. “We’ve got two more tough ones this week that we’ve got to get.

Faith Christian also needs to turn things around in league play. The Eagles dropped 3A Metro games to No. 3 ranked Kent Denver and Colorado Academy in double overtime last week.

Longtime coach Andrew Hasz has his team back in conference action on the road against Prospect Ridge Academy on Friday.

Despite double- and triple-teams, D'Evelyn senior Charles Dinegar (0) scored 20+ points for the seventh game this season in Tuesday's win over Faith Christian. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)