LITTLETON — Chatfield got a much-needed win Dec. 21, heading into its Winter break.
The Chargers ended a 4-game losing streak with a solid 49-33 victory over previously undefeated Green Mountain it what was a throwback to what used to be one of the best boys basketball rivalries in Jeffco during the late-1990s and early-2000s.
“This is huge. This is a game-changer,” Chatfield junior Shay Rumsey said after he scored a game-high 14 points. “We were heading downhill. We just had to work together. I think we finally found it tonight.”
The Chargers (4-5 record) definitely discovered their capability on defense. Chatfield held Green Mountain (4-1) to just 13 points in the second half after holding a slim 23-20 halftime lead.
“That is credit to (Chatfield),” Green Mountain coach Mike Puccio said of the Rams being held to a season-low 33 points. “They took us out of everything we wanted to do. We had good looks at times. Looking at the stats, we shot 25 percent. You do that and you aren’t beating anybody in the league (Class 4A Jeffco).”
Coming into Tuesday’s 4A Jeffco versus 5A Jeffco showdown the Rams and Chargers were on opposite sides of the spectrum when it came to close games.
Green Mountain — ranked No. 7 in the CHSAANow.com 4A boys basketball poll — had won its previous three wins by a total of 14 points. On the other hand, Chatfield had lost its last three games by a total of 10 points.
“We finally got a full week of practice with all of our guys,” Chatfield coach Erik Buehler said. “We were on the same page defensively. I knew with this group they could defend like that. Those kids are really tough defensively and that should be our calling card moving forward.”
Seniors Cooper Francy and Luke Davis had 12 points each to lead the Rams.
The Rams have one final game before Winter break. Green Mountain heads downtown to Ball Arena to face Fredrick. The Warriors were sitting just outside the top-10 rankings in 4A this week.
“It’s a learning experience,” Puccio said. “Credit again to Chatfield. We didn’t lose it. They took us out what we wanted to do.”
Rumsey and senior Marquis Jones (11 points) led the Chargers offensively. Chatfield did have an issue at the free-throw line. Buehler admitted he “couldn’t watch” at times as the Chargers finished the night 8-for-24 (33.3 percent) from the charity stripe.
“That is something we’ll be working on,” Rumsey said of baker’s dozen of missed free throws in the second half. “We just weren’t locked in when we went to the free-throw line. We need to change our mindset.”
Chatfield returns to action with home games against Erie (Jan. 5) and rival Columbine (Jan. 7) in a non-league game at the start of the New Year.
“I told the guys we’ve had one of the harder schedules in 5A during the preseason. It’s to get ready for 5A Jeffco,” Buehler said. “Hopefully we can springboard off of it.”
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.