Evergreen’s boys basketball team returned to the court following the winter break with a 52-42 loss to D’Evelyn in the opening round of the Jefferson County tournament.
The Cougars were unable to come all the way back from a 13-point first quarter deficit in falling to 5-4 on the season. The Jaguars improved to 6-3.
A ragged opening quarter contributed greatly to Evergreen’s downfall, as the home team fell behind 17-4. The Cougars closed to within three points in the fourth quarter, but D’Evelyn was able to pull away down the stretch for the victory.
“The bad start really hurt us,” said Evergreen coach Scott Haebe. “We spent the whole night battling to get back into the game. It is very difficult to win a game when you score four points in the first quarter.”
D’Evelyn dominated the opening session, led by James Rader in the post. The 6-foot-7 senior center scored three buckets inside and stepped behind the three-point line for another hoop en route to nine points.
Evergreen regrouped in the second quarter, tightening up the defense and finding the range from outside. Senior Charlie Blackstock erupted for 10 points, as the Cougars narrowed the deficit to 26-20 at halftime. Rader had 13 points at the break, along with two blocked shots.
“Rader and (Jeremy) Sullivan are their two best players, and we struggled defensively against Rader inside,” Haebe said. “He is a tough match-up because of his size.”
A 3-pointer by Kurt Dieter to open the second half brought Evergreen within 26-23, but the Jaguars responded with six straight points. The third quarter ended with D’Evelyn on top, 36-29.
Consecutive baskets by David Schultz and Blackstock made the score 40-37 three minutes into the final quarter. D’Evelyn scored following a timeout, but Ryan Haebe netted a jumper to bring the Cougars back within three at 42-39.
The Jaguars kept their poise, and Sullivan, a junior guard, began using his quickness to snake through the Evergreen defense for easy baskets. The Cougars’ shooting went cold, scoring just three points — a 3-pointer by Blackstock — in the final four minutes, and the visitors padded their lead.
“We have been struggling on offense all year,” Haebe said. “We need to score more than 42 points to win consistently. We have been out of synch, and maybe we need to be more patient in working for good shots.
“At least we made a game of it after the real bad start. We cut it to three points, but then gave up a couple of easy lay-ups. Sullivan went through our entire team a couple of times. We were making progress at the Green Mountain tournament before the break, but took a bit of a step back (Monday).”
Rader paced all scorers with 21 points, while Sullivan added 13 points. Blackstock was high man for Evergreen with 17 points, while Dieter netted 13. Schultz scored eight points, Haebe and Joe Beaudin two apiece, while Cam Tucker and Mike Philbin provided strong defense.