By Will Petersen
For the Courier
DENVER — The final score didn’t reflect exactly how close the game was. It would have been, without a doubt, a huge upset, and the Evergreen girls basketball team almost pulled it off.
The Lady Cougars, playing on the road, cut fifth-ranked D’Evelyn’s lead to four midway through the fourth quarter before ultimately bowing out in a 52-39 defeat Jan. 18.
“We kind of let off the gas a little bit. We were going strong, we were right there, we got a little relaxed and maybe a little complacent,” Evergreen’s Natalia Aramovich said.
After a layup by Evergreen’s Samantha Kisiel cut the D’Evelyn lead to 40-36, the Lady Jaguars went on a 12-3 run to close out the game.
“We needed to be a little more patient on the offensive end. D’Evelyn does a good job of picking up the tempo and forced us into some tough shots,” Evergreen head coach Amy Mohr said.
Both Aramovich and Kisiel made their fair share of tough shots. Kisiel, a freshman, led Evergreen with 14 points. Aramovich, a senior, added 13. Both hit the boards hard, too, pulling in 11 and seven rebounds, respectively.
“(Rebounding) is just heart. It’s knowing that we can do it and just playing hard and keeping our heads up,” Kisiel said.
“Rebounds are just getting after it and saying ‘we need another possession.’ If we get that rebound we get another chance to score,” Aramovich added.
Evergreen led the Lady Jaguars 9-8 after one quarter and hung around the rest of the way. D’Evelyn took a 28-23 lead into the half.
The Lady Cougars turned up the heat in the third, holding D’Evelyn scoreless for the first four and a half minutes. A jumper by Aramovich cut the deficit to 28-27 about halfway through the quarter, the closest Evergreen would get the rest of the way.
The loss dropped Evergreen to 5-8 overall, 2-2 in the 4A Jeffco League. Meanwhile, D’Evelyn, ranked fifth in the Denver Post media poll, improved to 12-1, 4-0 in league play.
“Overall, that’s the best game I’ve seen us play all year,” Mohr said. “I’m very proud of the effort. Playing at the level with (D’Evelyn) shows what we are capable of.”
“It was a winnable game. But, we’re definitely excited to know we can keep up with a team like this,” Aramovich said. “Overall, this definitely helped us realize that when we work together we can be pretty successful.”