Chaffee boys basketball team rallies from 20-point halftime deficit to clip Saxony Lutheran

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Chaffee defenders Jordan Yahn, left, and Zach Dannenmueller, right, and Saxony Lutheran's Trent Steffens look for the referee's call during the fourth quarter Tuesday in Chaffee, Mo. (LAURA SIMON ~

CHAFFEE, Mo. -- Alex Crowe has played in a lot of basketball games for Chaffee High School, but never anything like Tuesday night's contest against Saxony Lutheran.

"That's the funnest game I've ever been a part of," said Crowe, a senior guard.

One team's fun is another squad's agony. That pretty much summed up the Red Devils' improbable 61-59 win over visiting Saxony Lutheran.

Chaffee rallied from a 20-point halftime deficit to keep its record perfect at 4-0.

"It was a pretty good game," Chaffee senior guard Zach Dannemueller said in an understatement. "I've never been a part of anything like that."

Saxony Lutheran's Trent Steffens takes a shot over Chaffee defenders Alex Davie, left, and Jordan Yahn during the fourth quarter Tuesday in Chaffee, Mo. (Laura Simon)

The stunned Crusaders, who led for all but a few moments and were ahead 41-21 at the break, fell to 3-3.

"The first half we did exactly what we wanted to. We beat their press, we got layups, we were able to get any shot we wanted to," Saxony coach Dane Church said. "The second half we played kind of scared on offense. We didn't look to attack like we did the first half."

Chaffee tightened its defense in the second half and got its offense going, led by Crowe.

Crowe, among the area's top returning scorers after averaging nearly 16 points per game and shooting 39 percent from 3-point range last year, had not shot well through the early stages of this season.

Crowe had only three points in the first half before exploding for 22 points in the second half. He finished the night with four 3-pointers.

Chaffee's Alex Crowe makes a pass against Saxony Lutheran during the second quarter Tuesday. Check out more photos from the game at

"I've been struggling. The shots haven't been falling for me," Crowe said. "I was getting frustrated, but I know I can make those shots. I just wanted to step up for the team."

Crowe had seven points in the third quarter, all during an 11-0 Chaffee run that cut an 18-point deficit to seven. It was 48-39 entering the final period.

Crowe went off for 15 points in the final quarter to help the Red Devils outscore the Crusaders 22-11.

"The shots starting falling, but it wasn't just me," Crowe said. "My teammates were finding me. It was a total team effort."

Crowe's fourth and final 3-pointer, with just less than two minutes left, pulled Chaffee within 57-56 and sent the Red Devils' fans into a frenzy.

Chaffee's Alex Crowe celebrates during the fourth quarter Tuesday.

Dannenmueller made both ends of a 1-and-1 free-throw situation with 47 seconds remaining to pull Chaffee within a point at 59-58.

Chaffee stole the ball in the backcourt and Crowe drove for a basket with 25 seconds left. The Red Devils led 60-59, their first advantage since 11-10 in the opening quarter.

The Red Devils came up with another steal but missed a free throw, giving Saxony a last chance.

But the Crusaders had trouble working for an open shot and finally had to hoist a desperation 3-pointer with just seconds remaining. It was well off the mark.

Dannenmueller grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 1.5 seconds left. He made 1 of 2 free throws for the final margin.

"Oh man, what a game," Chaffee coach Josh Govreau said. "We got some stops in the second half and we had some players step up.

"I'm blessed to have four starting seniors [Jordan Yahn and Alex Davie joining Crowe and Dannenmueller]. They play hard. It was just a good team effort against a good team."

Dannenmueller and Yahn added 11 points apiece for Chaffee.

The Crusaders threatened to shoot Chaffee out of the gym during an opening half that saw them hit six 3-pointers -- four by senior guard Clayton Carver and two by senior guard Trent Steffens.

Carver had 16 points in the first half, while Steffens added 12.

"They came out hitting shots," Govreau said.

Govreau said that the Red Devils simulate being down by 20 points at halftime at least a couple of times a week in practice. He felt they had a chance to pull off the comeback.

"I challenged them at halftime," he said. "We've been in this situation before [during practice]."

Crowe said he figured Saxony eventually would cool off, especially if Chaffee tightened its defense.

"That eventually they weren't going to keep shooting the ball like that," Crowe said about his halftime thoughts. "But we had to contest shots. The shots they were making, we weren't within five feet of them."

Carver went scoreless in the second half, while Steffens got only five more points to finish with 17.

Also in double figures for the Crusaders were senior Nick Johnson with 12 points and junior Gabe Bohnert with 11 points.

"We kept our heads up, came out and battled," Dannenmueller said about the second-half rally.

Chaffee went 15-13 last season for its first winning record in 31 years. Crowe said the current Red Devils have even loftier goals.

"This game was huge for us," Crowe said. "It's the first time Chaffee has been 4-0 in a long time."


SAXONY (59) -- Trent Steffens 17, Clayton Carver 16, Brandon Fritsche 2, Taylor Johnson 1, Gabe Bohnert 11, Nick Johnson 12. FG 23, FT 6-11, F 16. (3-pointers: Steffens 3, Carver 4. Fouled out: Bohnert)

CHAFFEE (61) -- Alex Crowe 25, Peyton Montgomery 2, Zach Dannenmueller 11, Cody Johnson 3, Layton Tenkhoff 2, Jordan Yahn 11, Alex Davie 4, Charlie Montgomery 3. FG 23, FT 10-22, F 15. (3-pointers: Crowe 4, Johnson 1. Fouled out: none)

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