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Cougars win as last-second shot rattles out

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By Joe Vaccarelli

With Evergreen leading by one point and 4.3 seconds to play, D’Evelyn had to pass the ball in from under Evergreen’s basket and go the length of the court for a chance to score. Game over, right?

Not exactly.

The Jaguars got the ball to Kira Kalkus who raced down the court and got a good look at a 3-pointer that went halfway down before rattling out and falling harmlessly to the ground.

Exhale. Game over.

The lady Cougars certainly had an exciting end to their regular season as they squeaked by the D’Evelyn Jaguars 52-51 on Feb. 19 at Evergreen High School.

The Cougars had two opportunities to ice the game in the final 12 seconds, but Grace Beaudin and Haley Stading both missed front ends of a one-in-one to give the Jaguars their chance at a win.

“I just thought ‘well if they make it they deserve to win,’ we didn’t make our free throws down at the end, but you know what, they didn’t, so we got lucky. A win’s a win at this point,” Cougar head coach Ali Meyers said.

The Cougars may have been a bit lucky on the last shot, but they did get two key stops in the final two minutes on the defensive end to put them in a good position.

After D’Evelyn took their first lead of the fourth quarter 51-50, Jordan Florschuetz put back a miss with less than two minutes to play to regain the lead for the Cougars. Florschuetz would finish with 11 points on 2-of-12 shooting on the night.

The Cougars would force a miss by D’Evelyn and proceed to run about 40 seconds off the clock before turning the ball back over to the Jaguars. The Jaguars would then proceed to run about 35 seconds off the clock before Beaudin forced a jump ball that gave possession back to Evergreen.

Even after Beaudin missed her free throw, senior Kelsey Bestall was able to get an offensive rebound and allow the Cougars to run about six more seconds off the clock before Stading was fouled.

It was also defense that allowed the Cougars to lead throughout most of this game, despite shooting a paltry 22.9 percent from the field and 21.4 percent from 3-point range.

Bestall was a stalwart on the defensive end, forcing five steals in the first half, six for the game, and sophomore Erin Dobey stepped up in the second half to post five steals of her own as the Cougars would force 30 turnovers on the defensive end.

“Defensively (Bestall) was just amazing on senior night, she didn’t want to lose,” Meyers said.

The Cougars now look forward to the playoffs where they will likely get a home game to be played on Feb. 23 and will look to their defense to get them into the next round.    

“We always play really hard defense, our offense is always here and there, but we’re excited,” said Beaudin, who led the Cougars with 14 points on 4-of-17 shooting.

After finishing in fourth place in the competitive Jeffco 4A league, the battle-tested Cougars should be a tough out in the upcoming playoffs and may be overlooked by a few teams along the way, but that’s just fine with them.

“If they do, we’re gonna come at them,” Beaudin said.