By Will Petersen
For the Courier
He went from California to New York.
Well, not literally, but Chase Kelley defined the old saying coast to coast late in the second quarter of Evergreen’s 62-45 win over Conifer on Feb. 22 at Evergreen High School.
With Evergreen leading 32-10 Kelley grabbed a rebound and took off like a locomotive. The senior faked a pass, split two defenders, and laid the ball effortlessly into the hoop. The emphatic drive capped a 27-2 run for the Cougars and gave them an insurmountable 24-point lead over the rival Lobos.
“Going into halftime leading by quite a bit was nice. We beat them again. It’s a good way to end the regular season,” Kelley said.
Kelley led the Cougars with 18 points, including nine points in the deciding second quarter. Senior Andre Lane scored 11 and three other EHS players chipped in seven.
Evergreen finished second overall in the 4A Jeffco League with an 11-3 record (16-7 overall). That earned it a No. 4 seed and a first-round bye in the state playoffs in the 48-team 4A state tournament.
The Cougars will play the winner of the Elizabeth-Mountain View game on March 1 at Lewis-Palmer High School. A win in that game would most likely match them up with the the top-seeded Rangers in a ‘Sweet 16’ game on March 2.
“This is it now. It’s one and done. We’ve got to play with a sense of urgency from here on out. We can’t take any possessions off,” Evergreen head coach Scott Haebe said.
The Cougars’ five seniors started in their final home game. They were honored beforehand with a ceremony as well.
“I’m not thinking about it almost being over. I’m just looking forward to our next game and seeing what we can do in the playoffs,” Lane said.
Conifer’s season ended with the loss. The Lobos finished 2-12 in league play and 4-19 overall. Against Evergreen, the team was led by three departing seniors as Sam Macaulay and Jordan Danks each scored 11 points. Adam Macaulay added 10.
CHS will graduate seven seniors, but head coach Rich Gavelda has a positive outlook going forward.
“We’ve got good young players who have learned the system. It’s time to hand it to them and start turning hard work into victories,” Gavelda said.