WHEAT RIDGE - We all know Wheat Ridge and D’Evelyn historically have two of the top football programs in 4A Jeffco.
Well, Wednesday night’s boys’ basketball game between the two teams turned into a physical and even dirty football-like affair at Wheat Ridge High School.
The Jaguars blew out Wheat Ridge 79-56, in a game that was lowlighted by two brutal fouls executed by a pair of frustrated Farmers.
Senior Luke Stratman scored 22 points for D’Evelyn and was one of five different Jaguars who scored in double figures.
Junior Stefan Hackethal led Wheat Ridge with 15 points, and senior Danny Allen added 12 points.
But the key moment of the game came early on, shortly after D’Evelyn took a 13-9 lead.
Frustrated because D’Evelyn was easily beating the Farmers’ defense, Wheat Ridge senior Tyler Kubasta fouled D’Evelyn junior Ty McGee from behind late in the first quarter while he was driving to the basket, leaving McGee on the ground and in pain.
“There were a couple cheap shots but when that happens you have to stay cool. We were getting under their skin because we were causing turnovers and then scoring,” McGee said.
Wheat Ridge’s physical play was fuel for the Jaguars’ fire and D’Evelyn responded with a 14-4 run.
Still upset about the hit, the Jaguars carried that momentum into the second quarter and then took a commanding 47-25 lead into halftime.
“You cannot go down to those guys or they will make you pay. Not only Stratman, but their whole team. We slowed them down early, but once they start to get it going it is tough,” Wheat Ridge coach Tommy Dowd said.
Then with 1:23 left in the third quarter the Farmers again had enough of D’Evelyn and their relentless scoring.
This time, it was Wheat Ridge senior Deion Trejo who hammered D’Evelyn senior Casey Cleary from behind, causing Cleary to go down to the ground hard and causing D’Evelyn coach Troy Pachner to furiously jump out of his seat.
Pachner and Dowd exchanged words, and both teams were warned by officials.
“You hate to see that because both teams have a lot of things to play for and you don’t want to see anybody get hurt. It’s disappointing but we knew they were going to try and be physical,” Pachner said.
The Farmers would go on to outscore the Jaguars in the fourth quarter 20-11, but that was only after Stratman exited the game, perhaps as a preventative measure.
D’Evelyn (14-1, 6-0), winners of six straight, will play at Alameda Friday at 7 p.m.
Wheat Ridge (3-12, 2-4), losers of four of their last five, will attempt to get back in the win column when they host Green Mountain Friday at 7 p.m.