LITTLETON — Dakota Ridge’s boys basketball proved Wednesday night that it has the offensive firepower to overcome an early double-digit deficit.

Green Mountain stormed out to a quick 10-0 lead after a thunderous dunk by junior Simon Lunsford. However, the defending Class 5A/4A Jeffco League champs weren’t shaken.

“Green Mountain is so physical and so well-coached,” Dakota Ridge coach Sean Kovar said after the Eagles pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 82-68 conference victory. “We knew we were in for a battle, but we knew it was going to be a long game. I trusted my guys. We talk about taking deep breaths and playing comfortable.”

Dakota Ridge (9-4, 4-0 in league) looked cozy when junior Ethan Berninger had the ball in his hands. One of the top scorers in the state torched the Rams (6-7, 2-1) for a game-high 35 points, which included seven 3-pointers.

Photo by Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Public Schools

The Eagles had a pair of 11-0 runs in the second half that would eventually push their lead up to 19 points.

“This is probably the most complete team, in my opinion, that Sean has had,” Green Mountain coach Mike Puccio said. “They are eight or nine deep. Berninger is the guy, but they have other guys who can stress you from multiple points.”

Juniors Andrew Schneider (19 points) and Nathan Esau (14 points) added to the offensive onslaught for the Eagles.

“It was a tough one,” Schneider said. “This is one of the best teams we’ve played all season. We just had to come out with energy.”

As a team, Dakota Ridge made a dozen 3-pointers and were a stellar 12-for-14 from the free-throw line during the Eagles’ fifth straight victory. The 82 points was the most Green Mountain had given up all season.

“We have a super unselfish bunch,” Kovar said. “They work really hard at their craft to be great shooters. It is fun to see it pay off.”

Lunsford (16 points), along with seniors Blake Weslin (14 points) and George Soppe (10 points) all had double-figure points, but the Rams just couldn’t keep pace in the fourth quarter.

“We just took some bad shots honestly down the stretch in the fourth quarter,” Puccio said. “We have to be more efficient.”

The loss ended a 4-game winning streak for the Rams, who get back into action at home Friday, Jan. 19, against Littleton (4-7, 2-1).

“We’ll refocus. We knew this was going to be a tall task,” Puccio said. “We’ll be just fine. These are tough kids. I’m proud to be a part of it.”

With wins over Golden (10-2, 2-1) and Green Mountain, Dakota Ridge might not play any of its final six league games against an opponent with a winning record. However, don’t tell Kovar the path to another league title looks to be smooth.

“All we can think about is Evergreen,” Kovar said when asked if he felt like the Eagles were in the driver’s seat for repeating as conference champs. “We get to play another great league opponent on our home court Friday night.”

After Friday night’s game against the Cougars, Dakota Ridge will officially be at the midway point of conference play.

“I think we have a good shot,” Schneider said of winning the league title.