DENVER – The defensive scheme to oppose Grandview post player Sienna Betts usually involves two, sometimes even three, players.

Although the No. 3 Highlands Ranch packed the paint and applied physical defensive pressure on the 6-foot-3 sophomore, she still dominated with 23 points, 15 rebounds and five assists — all team highs — and led the No. 11 Wolves to a 57-53 upset victory Saturday afternoon in the Class 6A girls basketball Great 8 at the Denver Coliseum.

But for Grandview coach Josh Ulitzky, the stats aren’t the most important part. It’s her leadership and personal growth.

“She’s an exceptional player who raises the level of all of her teammates,” the coach said. “But I’m probably most proud of how she’s grown as a person this year. Obviously, the stats are great, but her growth as a person is the most important and most impressive thing to me.”

Her impact spread beyond the stat sheet, too. Betts was integral to breaking the Falcons’ press, using not only her height, but vision and ball skills, to keep the Grandview offense moving. She stayed out of foul trouble despite her size and the physical defense, only picking up her first with 50.9 seconds remaining in the game.

Betts said she was just doing what she could to keep this team together for another week.

“They are family,” Betts said. “These are my sisters and the thought of not being with them for two hours after school every single day makes me sick. I love these girls and every moment is important to us. We love being around each other and it’s literally such a gift. I’m just so happy we get another week to keep chasing this.”

Highlands Ranch opened proceedings with a perimeter-oriented offense that built a 15-10 lead on 3-for-5 shooting from deep. By halftime, the Wolves cut the advantage to only two points, but it wasn’t until the third quarter that Grandview flipped the game. It was the Falcons’ lowest-scoring quarter, shooting only 4 for 12 from the floor as the Wolves secured a 41-36 lead.

From there, it was a steady offense and made free throws that allowed Grandview to close out the game. It was the second consecutive year the Wolves eliminated Highlands Ranch from the playoffs.

Beyond Betts, Benedicte Kalala had nine points when Lexi Yi, Isa Dillehay and Deja Roberson had six points each. Highlands Ranch was paced by Tori Baker’s 17 points and 14 points from Maddie Groth. That duo had some of the nine 3-pointers knocked down by the Falcons.

“[Highlands Ranch] knocked down shots like they were going out of style,” Ulitzky said with a laugh. “Credit to coach (Karen) Jarocki. She’s an amazing coach, she’s the greatest. We were fortunate enough to get the win. The girls did a nice job defending — we need to do a little bit better — but we’ll take our chances with what comes next.”

The Wolves will have to pull off another upset in the Final 4 as they’ll see No. 2 Cherry Creek.

(2) Cherry Creek 47, (7) Doherty 35

(Dan Mohrmann/

Working from a frigid start, Cherry Creek surged through the second quarter, building to a 48-35 win over Doherty.

The No. 2 Bruins scored only eight points in the first quarter, which was still two more than the No. 7 Spartans. By the second quarter, Cherry Creek used a 13-3 run to create separation, then furthered the advantage with high-volume free-throw shooting in the fourth quarter.

The Bruins utilized a size advantage and bruising play in the post, with Braelynn Barnett scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and a 4-of-8 night at the free-throw line. She led all players with 11 rebounds. A’Neya Chambers added 13 points and four blocks.

Cherry Creek shot 43% from the field but only 40% from the stripe, going 13 for 32 as a team.

Doherty pulled as close as six points early in the fourth quarter but couldn’t make up ground once the Bruins started making regular trips to the charity stripe. They were led by Brooke Mansanares with eight points, while Kamee Hart and Jaila Porter had six points apiece.

Cherry Creek will look to end the underdog run of No. 11 Grandview when they meet in the Final 4 next weekend.