The Montrose boys basketball team is well aware that Evergreen’s size down low could be a problem when the two units face off for the second round of the state playoffs today.
Coach Ryan Voehringer said the Indians are going to have to stop the Cougars’ 6’8 big man Jared Stiller, 6’4 forward Griffin Lauritano (Evergreen’s leading scorer at 18.4 per game) and 6’1 Jackson Mott if they have any chance to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the second time in three years.
“Evergreen is very well-coached and extremely talented,” Voehringer said. “They have three really good players … and we will have to contain those three players.”
Montrose (19-4) and Evergreen (15-9) will collide in a head-to-head matchup starting at noon today, here at home.
Voehringer said he’s watched plenty of film on the Cougars, as well as attending their opening-round win against Denver North on Wednesday to know they’re the real deal. But he’s also looking forward to the challenge of defeating a talented Evergreen squad.
“This is what you live for as a coach and player,” Voehringer said. “Every team can play this time of year.”
The Montrose athletes are also looking forward to the challenge.
Luke Hutto, the Indians’ leading scorer and rebounder at 14.5 and 7.4 a clip, respectively, said despite the team’s recent success, the players aren’t overlooking Evergreen.
“We’re not going to underestimate them,” he said.
But Montrose has been on a roll, heading into the contest with a 15-1 record in 2020 as well as the winners of their last four.
“We are getting some momentum,” Hutto said. “But playing teams from the East Side, they have a different style of play so we will have to adjust to it.”
The Indians had some extra time to rest for the playoffs as they received a first-round bye after entering the tournament as the ninth seed. Meanwhile, Evergreen is the No. 24 ranked team.
Although the Cougars have some notable athletes, Montrose also has its own players that Evergreen will have to look out for.
In addition to Hutto, Sean Alex and Trey Reese are just a few players that the Cougars will hope to stop.
Alex is the Indians’ second-leading scorer with 12.3 points per game while first on the team in steals with 2.2. Reese is third for Montrose in points with 9.3 while holding a Montrose-leading 4.7 assists a game.
Montrose hasn’t been a team that relies on a few players to lead the way, but rather it uses its entire defensive unit to slow down opponents. The Indians’ defense has so far held teams to 42.30 ppg while the Cougars’ D averages 51.79.
Interestingly enough both offenses have scored the same amount of overall points this season at 1322. But Evergreen has played one more game than Montrose.
No matter how the game unfolds, the Montrose players said they’re ready for a tall Evergreen team.
“We’re feeling pretty good,” Reese said. “We’ve watched a lot of film to get prepared.”