DENVER — Conifer boys basketball team raced out to quick lead Thursday night against former Class 4A Jeffco League rival and never looked back in a 71-51 win over D’Evelyn.
The Lobos hits the 20-point mark less than six minutes into the game at D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School. Junior Elijah Cook’s 3-pointer with 2:24 left in the first quarter pushed Conifer’s lead to 21-4 on the Jaguars’ home court.
“We have in spurts,” Conifer coach Eric Valerio said of the Lobos’ hot shooing. “We’ve got guys who get streaky and hot. Elijah Cook is just an unbelievable shooter.”
Cook finished with a game-high 27 points, including seven 3-pointer. The junior guard was one 3-pointer short of tying the school record. As a team, Conifer finished with a dozen 3-pointers on the night.
“I just came in and knew I’d be hitting my shots for some reason,” said Cook, who said he has hit 10 3-pointers in a summer game.
The Lobos (5-3 record) had good balanced scoring. Juniors Landon Wallace, Connor Long and Cody Jacobson each scored 10 points. Senior Will Ratzer pitched in 12 points to give the Lobos five players in double-figures.
“I’m just so proud of the guys,” Valerio said. “They are fun to watch, especially when they are shooting the ball like that.”
The victory ended a long losing streak against D’Evelyn. It has been at least a decade since the Lobos had defeated the Jaguars in boys basketball. Valerio was 0-6 coaching against D’Evelyn since he took over the Jaguars’ program in the 2013-14 season.
“It’s a big win to kind of get this monkey off our back,” Valerio said of defeating D’Evelyn.
The Jaguars (0-7) are still looking for their first victory. D’Evelyn did show signs of turning things around in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars scored 23 points in the final quarter after being held to 28 points through the first three quarters.
D’Evelyn senior Dan Brady led the way with 18 points for the Jaguars. D’Evelyn attempts to get in the win column Saturday night in a road game against Erie (1-3).
Conifer tries to grab its fourth victory in five games when the Lobos face rival Evergreen at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, at Conifer High School. It will be the first time in the rivalry game where Valerio will go head-to-head against Evergreen’s new coach Jeff Dolan. Valerio and Dolan were teammates at Conifer.
“We have Evergreen on Monday, so we’ve got to be good for that,” Cook said. “We’ve got to come out like we did tonight.”
Looking a little ahead, the Lobos begin play in the 4A/3A Colorado 8 League in mid-January. A conference title would like nice on Conifer’s resume.
“There are some good quality teams in there,” Valerio said of the Colorado 8 League. “Our goal is to win everything. My goal is to get better each game and teach them to play the right way.”