LOVELAND – One year ago, Jenna Krise walked off the floor at Budweiser Events Center with disappointment, but also motivation.

Krise and her Briggsdale girls basketball teammates had just lost in the Class 1A state championship to Flatirons Academy. Krise shot 3-of-15 from the floor that night. She told Falcons coach Colin Nicklas the next day that Briggsdale would beat them the following year.

On Friday night, Krise held true to her word, hitting the winning shot in the final seconds to eliminate the two-time defending state champions. One night later she took the next step, scoring 26 points to send Briggsdale to its first state championship in the sport with a 53-37 victory over previously unbeaten McClave in Loveland.

“She’s a gamer. She works at this game probably nine months out of the year. We let her play volleyball for three months, and she’s solid at that too,” Nicklas said. “Unbelievable athlete. Unbelievable kid.”

Briggsdale (24-2) never trailed against McClave, taking a nine-point lead after the first quarter and pushing that to 15 points by halftime. Krise had 18 points in the first half after finishing with only nine in the 2022 title game.

“Last year I wasn’t as confident,” Krise said. “I worked a lot this summer with my coaches and my team. I had to be confident.”

McClave (25-1) shot just 25 percent from the field in the first half, living on the perimeter. The Cardinals didn’t attempt a free throw over the first 16 minutes.

“We tried to pressure them,” Krise said. “Our guards up front really worked hard, and I think they deserve a lot of credit.”

Nicklas said he was concerned how his team would enter Saturday’s championship coming off such a big victory Friday night in the semifinals.

It wasn’t an issue. Even after the Cardinals closed to within seven points late in the first half, Briggsdale finished the half with an 8-0 run.

“It was a super-emotional game, and a buzzer beater,” Nicklas said of Friday’s game. “I was a little worried about how we would come out and prepare for this, but they were locked in, ready to go.”

Kayl Klem added 11 points for Briggsdale and Macie Klem added eight.

McClave freshman Abrielle Gomez led the Cardinals with 10 points and sophomore Chloe Weber added nine. McClave has only two seniors, and had five freshmen on varsity this winter.

Briggsdale will lose five seniors, but Krise will be back after averaging more than 24 points a game this season. For the entire squad, they will carry with them the memories of an amazing 2023 run for a lifetime.

They will forever be the group that finally brought a girls basketball title to Briggsdale.

“We were here last year in a heartbreaker, a close game. We weren’t as deep as last year,” Nicklas said. “To come together, finally do it and play for each other and play for a community is unbelievable.

“For 11 girls to put their heart and soul into something and say we’re not going to be denied, that was right here.”