ARVADA — Lakewood and Ralston Valley showed Tuesday night why their girls basketball teams are still to be reckoned with in the Class 5A Jeffco League.
The Tigers and Mustangs have dominated 5A Jeffco for nearly a decade combining to win the past eight conference titles.
Ralston Valley, No. 9 in the latest CHSAANow.com 5A rankings, won its fourth-straight game since winter break. The Mustangs hung on for a 67-65 victory against a gritty Lakewood squad that was unconscious from long range.
“I’ve never seen so many tough shots go down,” Ralston Valley coach Jeff Gomer said of the Tigers making a dozen 3-pointers, including shots at the buzzer from beyond the arc to end the second, third and fourth quarters. “The ball just kept going in.”
Lakewood junior Nadia Trevizo-Medina scored a game-high 30 points. The Tigers’ guard made seven 3-pointer. She ended the game fittingly with a heave from near mid-court that went in as the final buzzer sounded.
Luckily for Ralston Valley (9-4 record), sophomore Sydney Bevington had made a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds left to push the Mustangs’ lead to 67-62 before Trevizo-Medina made the Tigers’ final 3-pointer.
“What took us by surprise is we were contesting the 3-pointers, but they were hitting them,” Bevington said. “They are great shooters. We just have to execute better against the pick and roll.”
Bevington finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds for her fourth double-double on the season. The 6-foot-1 guard hit a big 3-pointer with less than three minutes to play in the third quarter that gave the Mustangs a 43-41 lead after the Tigers (3-10) had led for the majority of the game.
“She (Bevington) doesn’t take over enough sometimes,” Gomer said. “She is a pass first kid. We are trying to get her more aggressive and she made some key plays for us tonight.”
Lakewood coach Chris Poisson knew the Tigers had their hands full trying to contain Bevington.
“Bevington is really good,” Poisson said. “Hats off to her for making those free throws and that’s not all she did. There was time we couldn’t stop her. She is a bad match-up for us because her height sets her apart.”
Senior Shelby Nichols had a stellar second half for the Mustangs pouring in 13 of her 16 points after halftime. Sophomore Brooklyn Seymour was outstanding with first double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
“We got big games from our post players tonight,” Gomer said. “It was nice to see Brooklyn come around. If she slows down in the post she is tough to stop.”
Gomer also added it was nice to have senior Maddie DeHerrera in the lineup for the first time this season. DeHerrera is coming back from injury.
After playing a baker’s dozen of non-league games, Lakewood and Ralston Valley finally dive into conference play starting Saturday, Jan. 19. The Mustangs are at Chatfield and the Tigers hit the road to face Dakota Ridge. Both games tipoff at 1 p.m.
“I’m really pumped because now we have a target on our back because we’ve been beating them (5A Jeffco teams),” Bevington said about having already defeated Columbine, Dakota Ridge and Lakewood over the last 10 days. “It’s going to be harder, but I think we’ll come out stronger. I’m excited.”
While Lakewood’s record is very impressive, the Tigers have shown that they are very capable of contending for the conference title during the upcoming 8-game league game stretch.
“I don’t know what I’m going to get with this group right now. We are kind of consistently inconsistent, but we are getting consistent with giving a winning effort,” Poisson said. “I’m hopeful that this the team that shows up every night. This is the team we can win with.”