LITTLETON — Chatfield senior Carter Rubin knew he had probably made a mistake taking a 3-pointer in front of the Chargers’ bench in the final seconds Friday night.
The No. 12-ranked Chargers had the ball leading 55-54 with the clock ticking down. Chatfield was trying to take care of the ball and run out the clock. However, Rubin couldn’t help himself when he found himself open in the corner with under 30 seconds to play.
“I was like, ‘Oh no!’ Here we go,” said Chatfield senior Dylan Carter, who dished the ball out to Rubin. “Then he made it and I was like, ‘My man!’ It felt good when it went in.”
The monster 3-pointer gave Chatfield (9-1, 7-1 in Class 5A Jeffco League) a 58-54 lead with 24 seconds left. Carter, who led the Chargers with 19 points, made a pair of three throws that allowed Chatfield to hang on for a 60-58 victory.
“He (Rubin) is one of the best shooters in our program,” Chatfield coach Erik Buehler said. “Every one that leaves his hand usually looks good. It was a big one and we needed it. We’ll take it.”
Rubin had only made one 3-pointer early in the game way back during the second quarter. He admitted he was a little concerned after the ball left his hand on what was the biggest shot of the night.
“They said good shot, but it was very scary,” Rubin said of what his teammates said when they mobbed him after a timeout was taken right after his big 3-pointer. “I was kind of hesitate right after I took it. I knocked it down and it kind of sealed the deal for us.”
Chatfield looked to be well in control with a 48-31 lead early in the third quarter, but Columbine (6-4, 5-3) went on a 10-0 run and held the Chargers without scoring for a stretch of 8 minutes in the second half.
Columbine seniors Garrett Rogers (22 points), Treyvaughn Williams (15 points) and Luke Garrelts (12 points) carried the Rebels offensively. It was the first game of the year for the talented Williams playing for Columbine, who have been hit hard with injuries this season.
“Treyvaughn is a game changer,” Buehler said. “Rogers is special shooter and one of the best players in our league.”
Garrelts made a driving layup and was fouled with 1.2 seconds left to make the score 60-58. He intentionally missed the free throw with the hope to get a tip-in by the Rebels to force overtime, but Chatfield junior Chase Miller grabbed his 14th rebound of the game as the buzzer sounded.
The victory placed Chatfield as runner-up in 5A Jeffco behind No. 11 Valor Christian (8-2, 7-1) in the final conference standings.
Valor clinched the 5A Jeffco League title Friday night with a victory over Bear Creek. Valor’s lone league loss came against Ralston Valley in the Eagles’ conference opener back on Feb. 3. Valor reeled off seven straight league victories to win its first boys hoops conference title since moving up to 5A Jeffco.
“I think we were still a little disappointed about Wednesday,” Rubin said referring to the 3-point loss against Valor that cost the Chargers the league title. “Columbine has kicked our butts that last few years and we wanted to bring it and beat them tonight.”
Columbine plays four non-league games to wrap up it season over the next two weeks. The Rebels are scheduled to play area rivals Dakota Ridge (Feb. 26) and Chatfield (March 5) in non-conference games.
The Rebels could be a very dangerous team in the postseason with the likes of Williams and Rogers leading the way.
Chatfield closes out the regular season with Erie, Chaparral, Dakota Ridge and Columbine. The Chargers were 16th in the RPI standings prior to Friday’s win.
Buehler said he will treat the final four non-league contests as playoff games.
“Our season is so short and it will be the toughest part of our schedule,” Buehler said. “We just need to battle through that and we’ll be battle tested going into that final 32 (state tournament).”