Just two games on the Class 3A girls slate at the season closes on Saturday. Tri-Peaks rivals Lamar and Colorado Springs Christian battle for the championship and Sterling meets Centauri for the third place trophy.
To track scores, please click here for our girls’ basketball scoreboard and game recaps are available below.
Lamar Savages Take First Title in Two Decades
Nineteen years ago, 1998 for those who are counting, the Lamar Savages won their last state title. Tonight the Savages defeated Colorado Springs Christian, 24-18, to become state champions once again. Sophomore Cali Clark shot a methodical game-high nine points to lead her team to a victory they won't soon forget.
Nerves played a big factor in the game early, as both the Lions and Savages missed shot after shot. The referees were unusually stingy with their whistles letting the girls play. The first free throw attempt came by Colorado Springs Christian's Megan Engesser, who made one of two to give the Lions a 5-2 lead with 4:22 remaining in the half. The halftime buzzer sounded with a collective sigh of relief for the teams, both of which only managed six points in the first sixteen minutes of play.
With nerves settled, both teams came out of the break ready to become a champion. Lamar scoring was lead by Brecken Payne and Brenna Vallejos who scored six and five respectively, scoring 11 of 13 for Lamar in the third. Engesser shot a three-pointer with forty-four seconds to go in the quarter to bring the Lions within six. Entering the fourth, the Savages led 19-13, but a shot from the line and a wide open jumper pushed their lead to nine (22-13) with just under five minutes to play. Madison Mackie and Engesser scored seven each for the Lions, but had no help from anyone else, as Lamar outlasted a late push. In the end, Lamar came out on top to win their first title since 1998, Colorado Springs Christian made their first appearance since 2010 and first under head coach, Mark Engesser, and despite being the lowest 3A title game in history, it won't be one to be forgotten by anyone in attendance.
Congratulations Sterling Tigers - Defeat Centauri, 35-26
After both Sterling and Centauri suffered emotional loses yesterday, they squared off in today's first consolation game for the chance to be the third place winners in the 3A tournament. Both teams traded shots in the first but Sterling was able to jump to an early 6-2 lead before Centauri turned a quick five points off a layup by Alyssa Gomez and a steal by Ember Canty who converted the thee-point play. A great series on either end saw the teams swap baskets to have the first end with Centauri leading Sterling 9-8.
The lead was short lived for Centauri as Sterling began the second with a three-ball by Brooke Polenz less than a minute in to give the Tigers an 11-8 lead - a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game. Sterling began the second on an 8-0 run before the Falcons' Caroline Van Berkum made one of two from the line with 4:30 to go in the half. Melissa Wilson and Kyree Huffaker added five more to get the Falcons back to within one, but a foul to Taylor Knudson sent Sterling to the line to shoot three with thirty seconds to go in the half. Knudson converted two of her three attempts and sent the Tigers into the break with a 19-16 lead over Centauri.
The final two frames were tough for the Falcons who could not generate any points offensively, while Cassidy Paxton and Kylie Chavez combined for eight of the last sixteen points for Sterling. The Falcons were scoreless through the first half of the fourth and a minute earlier faced their largest deficit of ten points. When the buzzer sounded, Sterling came away with a 35-26 victory to earn third place in the tournament, while Centauri was sent home with hopes turned towards next year.