DENVER — D’Evelyn will have some positive momentum heading into the Class 4A girls basketball state tournament this week.
The Jaguars — No. 9 in the final CHSAANow.com 4A poll — defeated a tough Littleton squad 46-33 in a 4A Jeffco League and regular-season finale Feb. 18 at D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School.
“It was really an amazing way to end the regular season,” D’Evelyn senior Maddie Topping said. “Playing against a good team and getting that win. It feels like we are ready to go into playoffs.”
It was a bit of shaky start for D’Evelyn (19-3, 13-1 in 4A Jeffco). It was an up-and-down pace in the first quarter with not a lot of scoring. Littleton (16-5, 10-3) actually led early on holding the Jaguars to just two made field goals in the first quarter.
“We were definitely rattled in the first half having a little less confidence than usual,” Topping admitted with the Jaguars trailing 5-4 after the first quarter.
Senior Mikky Smith helped get the Jaguars’ offense going. She led all scorers in the first half with 10 points to give the Jaguars a 20-14 lead going into the break.
“She (Smith) has come so far this year,” D’Evelyn coach Chris Olson said. “To come in and have the minutes she has and score 12 points tonight. That’s her fourth or fifth game in double-digit points. She has put in a ton of work. She deserves to have a night like this.”
Smith and Topping both poured in a dozen points each in the final regular-season home game for the two seniors.
“Mikky is one of my best friends, so I’m always really happy when I get to see her really kill it,” Topping said. “We have really been working with that shot fake and then shot. She did that like four times and they (Littleton defenders) just flew by and she made it.”
D’Evelyn has already made it a memorable season. The Jaguars are one win away from their first 20-win season since 2014-15. While Green Mountain (21-2, 13-1) claimed the conference crown for the third straight year due to the head-to-head margin of victory against D’Evelyn, Olson knew how important it was to close out the regular season with a win.
“We knew we couldn’t be the league champion, but we can say we tied Green Mountain,” Olson said. “We are 13-1 in league and they were 13-1 in league. There was that little deal with the margin of victory. We’ll take 19-3 and 13-1.”
D’Evelyn ended Green Mountain’s 38-game league winning streak on Feb. 11 with a 56-53 overtime victory against the Rams, who have advanced to the 4A state semifinals in back-to-back seasons.
“That win against Green Mountain was really monumental to this team,” Topping said. “Doing that was a big moment of accomplishment.”
The Jaguars’ accomplishments gave D’Evelyn a top-16 seed for the 48-team state tournament that begins Tuesday, Feb. 22. D’Evelyn is the No. 9 seed for the state tournament and will host the winner of Rifle/Montrose on Friday, 25.
“It’s big,” Olson said of the Jaguars in the top-16 in the RPI standings. “The only teams we’ve lost to is Green Mountain twice and then Monarch. Both are top-ranked teams in 4A and 5A. I think we’ve proved ourselves well.”
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.