Cougars get defensive in win over Jags

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Evergreen uses size and pressure to stop D’Evelyn

By Joe Vaccarelli

Nothing helps a team get over a tough loss to a division rival better than beating up on another division rival in their home gym.

For the Evergreen Cougars, it was nice to get the bitter taste of defeat out of their system as the beat up on Jeffco 4A League foe D’Evelyn 54-43 on Jan. 12.

The Cougars (9-3), coming off a tough loss at home to Conifer, used their defense to shut down the unconventional Jaguar offense and also used their size to gain an advantage on offense and on the boards.

“Our defense is what won the game for us,” coach Ali Meyers said. “It’s one of our best defensive performances against a team that’s not very traditional. They shoot a ton of 3s. We did a great job against them.”

Defense also helped the Cougars overcome some offensive woes as they turned the ball over 24 times, but on the defensive end they were able to stymie the Jaguar offense and force 18 turnovers of their own.

The Cougars also helped themselves on the boards as they didn’t allow many second-chance points to the Jaguars and got some offensive rebounds to keep some possessions alive.

Junior Steph Wiens was the story on the glass, pulling down 14 rebounds to go along with eight points. Senior Tayler Warren contributed 10 rebounds off the bench.

“That was a huge emphasis tonight. I have to say Steph Wiens really stepped up,” Meyers said. “She was huge on the rebounds so that was great.”

On offensive, most of the scoring was done down low for the Cougars as junior Jordan Florschuetz scored a game-high 20 points to go along with eight rebounds, shooting the ball well both inside and outside against a smaller D’Evelyn squad.

“I felt pretty good,” Florschuetz said. “They’re not a particularly tall team, so I really think we needed to utilize our post down low and I think we did that.”

The Cougars struggled early on offensive, turning the ball over abundantly, but they were able to stay close and closed the first quarter out on 10-2 run for an eight-point lead that they would never relinquish for the rest of the game.

The second quarter saw the Jaguars hit some shots and force more turnovers, but the size of the Cougars proved too much as Halle Johnson, who scored 11 of her 13 points in the first half, and Florschuetz helped Evergreen close the quarter strong and take a 32-23 lead into halftime.

The second half saw the Cougars extend on their lead and, even with Florschuetz fouling out late in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars could not catch up as the Cougars held on to the ball and ran the clock down.

The Cougars showed how great their defense can be in this one and will turn their attention to improving the offense as they go forward.

“(We need to) work on our offensive obviously. Hopefully it will get better as we get more touches on the ball. Our defense is fine, we just need to work on our offense,” Meyers said.