DENVER — The Denver Coliseum has become an annual destination for Mead’s girls basketball team.

It was a pleasant experience Friday morning with the No. 3-seeded Mavericks ending the Cinderella-run of No. 11 Standley Lake. Mead never trailed in taking a 54-41 victory in the first Class 5A Great 8 game of the day.

“I think it is just experience being her three times now. I think that definitely helps,” Mead junior Darby Haley said of the third year in a row the Mavericks have advance to Great 8 at the Coliseum. “I just had confidence in my team. I knew in the flow of the game when that shot comes I can shoot it and make it.”

Haley had just 2 points on 1-of-8 shooting a year ago when Windsor defeated Mead 44-41 in the state quarterfinal at the Coliseum. It was a totally different story for the junior this time around as she led Mead with a game-high 17 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the first half.

Mead (22-4 record) got off to a quick start shooting in the cavernous Coliseum. The Mavericks drained six 3-pointers in the first half to jump out to a 28-12 lead at halftime.

“With a bigger backdrop you have to focus on the rim,” Mead coach Mike Ward said of preparing to shoot the ball in the Coliseum. “You can’t look elsewhere. You can’t look at the flight of the ball. Really just focus on seeing the rim. We’ve shot the ball with confidence all year.”

Standley Lake (21-5) did make things interesting in the third quarter. The Gators cut Mead’s lead to single-digits. Senior Taylin Serlen — Regis University-commit — led the way with 15 points. Freshman Sydney Martin (8 points) also gave Mead some trouble in the second half.

The Gators went to a man-to-man defense in the second half to attempt to limit Mead’s open 3-pointers. The Mavericks quickly adjusted to drive the ball inside and ended up making a living at the free-throw line in the second half.

“Coming in we wanted to space the floor because if you haven’t noticed, we aren’t very big,” Ward said. “Standley Lake has some size so we wanted to use our athleticism and speed against their height.”

The Mavericks were 15-for-20 from the free-throw line in the second half.

Mead will face the winner of No. 7 Montrose/No. 2 Roosevelt next Thursday, March 7, back at the Coliseum.

Northfield 66, Windsor 55

Northfield’s girls basketball team made history Friday afternoon earning the program’s first berth to the Final 4 of the 5A state tournament.

The No. 4-seeded Nighthawks defeated No. 5 Windsor 66-55 in the historic win for the Denver Public School program.

“I’m a DPS alumni, so to be able to bring girls basketball back to Denver Public Schools at a competitive level, I can’t even explain,” Northfield coach and 2003 Manual High School graduate Sydney Price said.

There was actually some recent postseason history between Windsor and Northfield heading into Friday’ state quarterfinal. The Wizards dominated the Nighthawks 83-22 in the opening round of the 5A state tournament a season ago.

Windsor went on to finish runner-up for the third straight season after a 54-44 loss to Roosevelt in the 5A title game. The Wizards were 4A state runner-up to Mullen in 2022 and 2021.

“We did talk about it,” Northfield freshman LaPorsha Allen said of Northfield’s 61-point loss to the Wizards in the opening round of the playoffs last season. “We talked about how we get the better outcome and go play our hardest.”

Allen picked a prefect game to score a season- and career-high 22 points. The 5-foot-11 freshman dominated the inside and finished off the game in style going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.

“She (Allen) just dominates the floor with her patience and composure,” Price said. “That is what is really unique to be so young, but so composed in this stage for my point guards and Allen.”

Freshman Madison Bethel (18 points) and junior Aliyah Herron (9 points) had great games on both ends of the court. Windsor was forced into 16 turnovers with the Nighthawks’ athletic guards setting up transition buckets early on.

Northfield (23-3 record) extended its lead to double-digits midway through the third quarter when Herron banked in a 3-pointer to put the Nighthawks up 41-29.

Allen, senior Nashara Ellerebee (11 points) and junior Katherine Snodgrass dominated inside on both ends of the court. Windsor (17-9) was led by junior Reyleigh Hess (20 points) and freshman Nola Greenwald (17 points).

“I told them that this what its about. We have to come out and make a statement,” Price said of avenging the blowout postseason loss to Windsor last year. “Those upperclassmen who took that hit last year wanted it. They lifted up our young freshmen and made them believe. It was a team effort.”

Northfield will face the winner of No. 1 Air Academy/No. 8 Frederick next Thursday, March 7, back at the Coliseum.