GREELEY – The hit pop song may be known to invoke a Cruel Summer, but a clutch shot made it a Krise Winter.

With time ticking down in the Class 1A girls basketball championship game, and back-to-back titles for Briggsdale in the balance, senior Falcon Jenna Krise delivered with a pull-up jumper near the free-throw line.

The shot proved to be the game winner as the Falcons defeated Stratton 41-40 to win their second consecutive championship for the small farming community in Weld County.

“I’m excited to take that shot, that’s what I live for,” Krise said. “I wanted to find the best shot possible, and if that meant waiting until the last few seconds … It couldn’t have happened without my teammates. They are the ones who got me in that spot, that position. They deserve all the credit.”

Stratton, which held a 60-40 January win over Briggsdale heading into the title game, had an opportunity to inbound with seven seconds left trailing by one. The plan appeared to be to inbound to the Eagles’ star counterpart, Sedonia Isenbart, to run the length of the court with a chance to win.

But a deflected inbound pass led to a steal for Claire Brown, and though Isenbart still had a chance for a half-court heave as time expired, the Briggsdale faithful erupted as the shot fell short.

“I know that Sedonia is a great player, and if she has time she can make anything happen,” Kris said. “We have a great community, I’m glad that they came and showed out. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

It was a much different contest than the earlier matchup between the two 1A powers, with defense – and turnovers – playing a big factor.

Isenbart was held to nine points for Stratton, while her younger sibling, Sophia Isenbart, led the Eagles with 14.

Scoring was at a premium all around, with a combined nine points in the second quarter leading to an 18-18 tie at the half. In the second, the teams traded jabs before Stratton was able to find a seven-point lead, its highest of the night, in the third quarter.

The teams combined for 40 turnovers – 25 on the Briggsdale side alone – but the shooting of Krise (18 points), Brown (10 points), and Kayl Klem (10 points) – plus a couple of gasp-inducing no-look passes from Krise paved the way for another Briggsdale banner.

“The earlier matchup was right out of Christmas, we still didn’t know about ourselves,” Briggsdale coach Colin Nicklas said. “Tonight, we really tried to get on their three-point shooters and not let them make it, and that was the difference.”

For Nicklas, it’s the second stint as a back-to-back champion, noting that he accomplished the same feat as a football player in high school.

But as the sideline stalwart for the Falcons girls squad, this was much, much sweeter.

“As a coach I think it’s way more rewarding, doing it for the kids and you’re just happy for the kids,” Nicklas said. “We’re a small community, but these kids know every person that came to watch them
“This group is just unbelievable.”