1. (in a game) the loss of possession of the ball to the opposing team.
2. a small pie made by folding a piece of pastry over on itself to enclose a sweet filling.
Evergreen boys basketball coach Scott Haebe has seen far too many possessions lost to the opposing team this season; and probably not nearly enough pastries.
Haebe watched his team’s seven-point fourth quarter lead against the Wheat Ridge Farmers on Jan. 30 evaporate into nothing in regulation, and then become a gut-wrenching 63-62 Class 4A Jefferson County League loss in overtime. And the culprit, to Haebe, was as obvious as an Evergreen snow in January.
“That’s been our story in a lot of close games we’ve had this year,” Haebe said. “We’re in control of the game in the third quarter, then we go into the fourth quarter and we start turning the ball over and the next thing you know we’re down.”
But the Cougars (5-3 Jeffco, 10-6 overall) had a little help in creating their late-game ineptitude. The full-court pressure defense employed by the Farmers (6-2, 8-9), the same defense that Evergreen had broken with ease for most of the game, suddenly became unbreakable.
“I think we just panicked,” senior guard Chris Lemasters said. “It wasn’t really that hard of a press to break. We just lost our composure.”
Lemasters took the ball at half court and dodged a hayride full of Farmers’ defenders on his way to an easy layup that gave Evergreen a 46-39 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
But, a 9-1 run by the Farmers (helped by several Evergreen turnovers) turned what could have been an easy Cougars’ victory into a game where every possession was critical.
With the score tied at 52, Wheat Ridge coach Tommy Dowd elected to have his team play keep away with the ball and burn the final 90 seconds of regulation off the clock.
The strategy might have worked for the Farmers had they been able to score in the final seconds, but that’s a discussion for the coach’s room. Evergreen defenders swarmed all over Wheat Ridge’s Eric Achatz as soon as he touched the ball and the clock ran out before he could even get a shot off.
What had started as a passing fad became an uneasy trend in overtime as the Cougars committed two early turnovers that led to two easy buckets for the Farmers, and a lead they would never relinquish.
Lemasters hit a huge 3-pointer with 14 seconds to play to get Evergreen within one point at 60-59, but Achatz was ice at the free-throw line in the closing seconds hitting five critical charity shots to seal the win.
Achatz was the Cougars’ albatross all game long. The Wheat Ridge senior, who has averaged only 10 points a game this season, piled up 21 points on the evening and was the dominant force down the stretch.
“I was shocked at how well (Achatz) played (Jan. 30),” Haebe said. “In the past I haven’t seen him have any really big huge games, but he had a great game (Jan. 30).”