EHS can’t overcome slow start

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Cougars prove to be no match for the state’s No. 1 team

By Michael Hicks

Not too many teams are going to come back after spotting the opposition the first 13 points and 20 of the game’s first 21.
That’s especially true when you’re playing a caliber team such as Valor Christian, the state’s No. 1 team in Class 4A. Evergreen found out the hard way.
The host Cougars in their home opener trailed 13-0 not even 3 minutes into the game, and they didn’t hit their first basket until Valor Christian was ahead 20-1 en route to a 72-38 thrashing Dec. 7 at Evergreen High School.
“Valor is loaded,” Evergreen head coach Scott Haebe said. “Unfortunately, we got off to such a bad start. It would’ve been nice to keep it close for a while. It would’ve been a tough match-up no matter how we played.”
It didn’t get any better as the game wore on since the Eagles (2-0) led by 24 points at halftime, 29 after three quarters and 34 by game’s end. Four players scored in double figures for Valor Christian, led by Chase Foster’s game-high 18 points. Paden Mueller, Keegan Wynja and Brandon Pleiman scored 10 each for the Eagles.
After the first quarter, Evergreen didn’t play too shabby, Haebe said. EHS’ veteran coach thought his team executed fairly well. It got some good looks against what he considered to be a good defensive team.
Point guard Nathan Haas led Evergreen (2-1) with 10 points — all in the first half. Jack Curtis and Luke Camp added seven points apiece.
“I think the good thing that we take away from that is that we were battling them. We were just overmatched,” Haebe said.
Maybe it didn’t help that Evergreen was coming off a hard-fought 45-42 road win at Sierra, a team that made it to the second round of the 4A state tournament a season ago. But make no bones about it, Sierra game or no Sierra game, Evergreen was going to have its hands full with Valor Christian no matter what.
“We had a tough game last night, which was a good win for us,” Haas said. “Coming out here, Valor is ranked No. 1. They’re a top team. We can’t expect to beat them. We tried our best. We can hang our heads high knowing that we came out and tried to beat them.”
That said, Haas also knows that one is not going to beat a team, especially one the caliber of Valor Christian, when you open the game with a bad run like the Cougars had.
If there was a bright spot, it was that the game allowed Haebe to get a lot of players valuable minutes.
“A lot of kids got game time today and experience playing against that level of competition,” Haebe said.

Contact Michael Hicks at sports@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.