By Will Petersen
For the Courier
It featured three lead changes and two ties, and that was just in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter.
Evergreen and Conifer girls basketball teams played a classic back-and-forth affair Feb. 22, and it was the Lady Cougars who used a late run to earn a 42-35 win.
EHS went on an 18-5 run to close the game after trailing 30-24 just moments into the fourth quarter. The Lady Cougars’ Natalia Aramovich scored six of her team-high 13 points in the final period, including four of the game’s final five points.
“We had more heart than they did. We wanted it more, and we were hungrier. We had so much energy there was no way we were losing,” Aramovich said.
The win improved Evergreen to 9-5 in the 4A Jeffco League (12-11 overall), good for a share of second place in the conference standings. The loss dropped Conifer to 9-5 in league (16-7 overall) and tied for second with Evergreen and two other teams.
“The last couple of weeks we’ve had leads in the fourth quarter and we relaxed a bit. They just wanted it a little more,” Conifer head coach Mick Gorrell said.
The Lady Lobos were led by senior Shaina Smith with 14 points. Junior Becca Hammon chipped in 10.
Both teams are headed to the 48-team 4A state tournament. Evergreen played host to Discovery Canyon in the first round on Feb. 26. Results of that game weren’t available at press time. Conifer earned a No. 4 seed and will play the winner of the Berthoud/Denver West game on March 1 at Pueblo South High School.
Optimism was the theme of the post-game interviews as both coaches knew their teams would be in the 48-team state tournament with a shot to make a run.
“The girls are starting to believe at the right time of the season. It took some time, but better late then never. We’ll take that momentum into the tournament,” Evergreen head coach Amy Mohr said.
“We’re hoping to fix the things we did wrong at the end of the regular season, but I’m confident we will and we can make a run in the second season,” Gorrell said.