LAKEWOOD — Ralston Valley junior Sydney Bevington has always been a ‘pass first’ guard for the Mustangs.
However, Bevington has clearly learned how to flip the switch when it comes to dominating games in crunch time.
“She is starting to takeover games,” Ralston Valley coach Jeff Gomer said of his talented 6-foot-1 guard. “She is starting to realize what she can do with (shooting).”
Bevington poured in 14 points in the fourth quarter to lead Ralston Valley — No. 7 in this week’s CHSAANow.com Class 5A girls basketball rankings — to a comeback road victory Tuesday night against Lakewood. The Tigers (4-8 record) led the Mustangs (11-2) 33-29 heading to the final quarter.
Ralston Valley went on an 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter, led by Bevington. The junior ended with a career-high 25 points.
“I just felt like the shots were open for me,” Bevington said of her 14 points in the fourth quarter that including going 8-for-8 from the free-throw line. “There was a size difference with who was guarding me. Overall it was a team effort, but I’m glad I was able to help.”
The three-year starter also grabbed 13 rebounds in the win. Bevington is now averaging 14.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
“She (Bevington) is going to get plays, but we gave her some extra plays where we were in sleep mode,” Lakewood coach Chris Poisson said. “(Ralston Valley) deserved to win. They made more plays than we did. I’m not disappointed in our effort. We are close.”
While Bevington scored 14 of 18 points for the Mustangs in the final eight minutes, senior Ellie Schweiker had a key layup in the final minute that extended Ralston Valley’s lead to 45-40 with less than 30 seconds to play.
“I felt like we needed a momentum shift,” Bevington said. “I felt like the whole game was back-and-forth, but that layup (by Schweiker) really sparked us.”
Sophomore Saya Sabus pitched in 11 points for the Mustangs. It was Ralston Valley’s fourth straight victory.
Lakewood’s crafty senior guard tandem of Nadia Trevizo-Medina and Aaliyah Sabala had a dozen points each in the Tigers’ loss.
“We might be the best 4-8 team around,” Poisson said. “We should be disappointed we lost, but confidence moving forward that we are almost there and hopefully turn that corner.”
Ralston Valley and Lakewood finally get into their conference schedule Friday, Jan. 24. The Mustangs host Chatfield at the end of the week, while the Tigers stay at home to face Dakota Ridge at 7 p.m. Friday night.
“Now that it’s almost February we mine as well play some league games,” Poisson joked. “Mentally we can refresh and get to the third phase of the season. We’ll take the lessons we’ve learned and hopefully get better.”
No. 3 Valor Christian (13-1) are seeking a second-straight 5A Jeffco League title. The Eagles biggest conference hurdle could come early in league play. Valor hosts Ralston Valley on Wednesday, Jan. 29, in what will be a top-10 match-up next week.
Gomer likely won’t have a fully healthy squad. Junior Brooklyn Seymour missed her second straight game Tuesday night due to an injury.
“That is our only game that week,” Gomer said looking ahead to Valor. “We would like to have Brooklyn back, but we probably won’t. It will be a good test for us. Valor is really good. I’m looking forward to it to see where we are at.”