D’Evelyn wins after erasing Evergreen’s early double-digit lead

Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 1/17/23

DENVER — Evergreen boys basketball brought the early energy, but D’Evelyn short-circuited the Cougars to grab a big conference win Jan. 11.

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D’Evelyn wins after erasing Evergreen’s early double-digit lead

Posted

DENVER — Evergreen boys basketball brought the early energy, but D’Evelyn short-circuited the Cougars to grab a big conference win Jan. 11.

Evergreen (6-6, 1-1 in Class 5A/4A Jeffco League) came out on fire on the Jaguars’ home court. The Cougars held a 17-4 lead late in the first quarter. However, D’Evelyn outscored Evergreen 46-20 after the early deficit to take an eventual 50-37 victory. 

“They came out with more energy,” D’Evelyn senior Kellen Olson admitted. “But then we kept going at them and keeping the pressure up. They couldn’t handle it, and we kept going after them.”

D’Evelyn (7-6, 3-0) made four 3-pointers during a 3-minute span of the second quarter. Junior Taj Kumar nailed back-to-back 3-pointers 17 second apart to close the Cougars’ lead to 17-12.

Kumar finished with a team-high 16 points with the Jaguars playing on back-to-back nights. D’Evelyn suffered a 58-39 home loss to Lutheran the night before.

“Taj has really been hard on himself,” D'Evelyn boys basketball coach Will Gosch said. “To see him just kind of turn the switch into something he has and we’ve seen in practice was really neat. He gave us the confidence.”

Olson gave the Jaguars their first lead early in the third quarter with a pair of free throws to officially erase the double-digit lead. Olson was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line in the second half to finish with 13 points. Sophomore Vince Scaturro had a solid game with a dozen points.

“This is big win,” Olson said of the league win over Evergreen. “They were one of our more competitive games last summer. We love playing against them.”

Evergreen made just two field goals after halftime. Senior Luke Killian had his lone basket in the second half midway through the third quarter, and sophomore Rob Beldock scored in the final minute of the third to cut D’Evelyn’s lead to 35-34.

After Killian had 16 points by halftime, D’Evelyn decided to put senior Nick Vancanti on the Cougars’ leading scorer. Killian had 6 points in the third quarter to finish with a game-high 22 points, but was held scoreless in the final quarter.

Senior Ethan Scheik made three free throws in the fourth quarter for the Cougars’ lone points.

“I just felt like until they were going to come out and put some pressure on us, we might as well (slow it up),” Gosch said of the fourth quarter where a 3-pointer by Scaturro was the lone field goal made in the final 8 minutes. “We looked for just quality shots and adjusted to what they were doing defensively.”

Evergreen did rebound Jan. 13 with a 69-52 victory over Pueblo West (6-6).

“Hal (Evergreen coach Hal Farmwald) does a fantastic job with them,” Gosch said. “He is a competitor, which I love. He brings that competitiveness to Evergreen. They’ll do well in league.”

Gosch will have his coaching cut out for him with the Jaguars playing shorthanded for at least the next few weeks. Senior Elijah Gusmus— D’Evelyn’s leading scorer at 16 points per game — will be out with a knee injury for at least the majority of January.

“We are missing Elijah (Gusmus), which is a key player. These guys have played around Elijah their whole life. Elijah has been the guy,” Gosch said. “Now these guys are learning on to be self motivators and how to step up.”

Gosch says best outcome from Elijah’s injury would for him to be back in about three to four weeks. 

Olson believes the Jaguars are up to the challenge.

“We just have to have 32 minutes of hellfire. It’s next man up,” Olson said of playing without Gusmus for at least the next few weeks. “It just has to be that next guy stepping up.”

Dennis Pleuss is the sports information director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.

Evergreen, D'Evelyn, basketball, high school sports

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