DENVER — Riverdale Ridge sophomore Brihanna Crittendon was on a mission Friday afternoon at the Denver Coliseum.

The Ravens’ 6-foot-3 star poured in a game-high 32 points as Riverdale Ridge punched its ticket to the program’s first girls basketball state championship game. Riverdale Ridge defeated last year’s Class 4A state runner-up D’Evelyn 56-34 at the Denver Coliseum.

“It’s amazing. I’ve been working on this for our seniors,” Crittendon said of the Ravens getting their first title shot. “We have five seniors and it would mean a lot for us to get the W (state title) for them.”

It meant a lot for Riverdale Ridge (24-3 record) to knock off the Jaguars (23-4).

“She (Crittendon) was not missing and we could tell she wanted to beat us since we beat her last year,” D’Evelyn senior Peyton Marvel said after the Jaguars’ season-ending loss. “I respect it. She played really well and we couldn’t do anything about that.”

The semifinal between Riverdale Ridge and D’Evelyn was actually a rematch of a 4A state quarterfinal last year. The Jaguars took a 54-47 victory with Marvel pouring in a game-high 36 points on the way to D’Evelyn’s runner-up finish to Holy Family in the championship game.

“We’ve been waiting for this rematch for a year,” Crittendon said. “It was amazing. It was a great win.”

Crittendon was amazing pouring in 14 points in the first quarter to give the Ravens a quick 19-10 lead after the first quarter. D’Evelyn answered with a big third quarter and actually took a 26-25 lead when Marvel drained a 3-pointer in the final seconds.

However, the Jaguars’ lead was short lived. Riverdale Ridge sophomore Shay Vigil hit nothing but the bottom of the net on a half-court shot at the buzzer to give the Ravens a 28-26 lead at halftime.

“That’s a mental thing for us,” Riverdale Ridge coach Tim Jones said of Vigil’s half-court shot to give the lead back to Riverdale Ridge. “They shoot those things in practice. As soon as it left her hand I thought, that’s probably going to drop.”

The miracle heave from Vigil was a sign of what was to come in the second half.

“It was great going into the locker room on top when she (Vigil) hit that,” Crittendon said of Vigil’s half-court heave to end the half. “That added a spark of energy.”

Riverdale Ridge went on a 22-0 run in the second half that included 3-pointers from Crittendon, juniors Brooklyn Charto, Gabby Herr, along with a pair from Vigil.

“We grew up a little bit. Maturity and understanding who we are,” Jones said of the playoff rematch from a year ago.

The Ravens’ defense held D’Evelyn to just eight points in the second half. Marvel finished with a team-high 17 points and fellow senior Macy Scheer had 10 points.

“That’s good basketball when you play good defense,” Jones said.

Riverdale Ridge will face Holy Family in the 4A state championship scheduled for a 5:45 p.m. Saturday tip back at the Denver Coliseum.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Jones said as the Ravens get their first title shot. “We’ll play against a good coach. We’ll play against a good team whoever makes it out between Resurrection Christian and Holy Family. We know we’ll have to bring it, but I think we’re ready for it.”

Holy Family 48, Resurrection Christian 42

(Doug Ottewill/

Experience is priceless when basketball teams get down to the Denver Coliseum.

Holy Family — top-seed and defending 4A state champions — proved that Friday afternoon holding off Resurrection Christian 48-42 in the second Final 4 girls game of the day.

“It’s good to know we’ve played together and we have that chemistry,” said Holy Family senior Essynce Contreraz, who scored a game-high 16 points for the Tigers. “Julia Hodell and I have been playing together since our freshman year. We’ve been down here twice. You’ve got to have that, especially in close games during this point of the season.”

Hodell had 13 points as Holy Family advanced to the 4A championship game for the second straight season. Tiger seniors combined to score 40 of Holy Family’s 48 points in the victory.

The Tigers (25-2 record) face Riverdale Ridge and sophomore standout Brihanna Crittendon in the title game.

“I’m so excited. I’ve never played against anyone like her,” Hodell said facing the 6-foot-3 guard in the championship game. “I think it’s going to be a good challenge.”

Resurrection Christian was a challenge for the 8-time state champions. The Cougars cut Holy Family’s lead to 23-22 with 3:04 left in the third quarter. Junior Olivia Klein led the way for Resurrection Christian with a game-high 17 points, fellow junior Callie Gillespie added a dozen points for the Cougars.

However, the Tigers went on a quick 7-0 run in less than a minute and finished the third quarter with 3-pointers from Contreraz and sophomore Gracie Ward to push the lead to 38-25 heading to the fourth.

“The thing about our team is once we go on a run, in our heads we get going,” Hodell said. “When we get a steal and layup the run just keeps on going. That is what we need tomorrow.”

The Cougars made things interesting in the fourth quarter cutting the lead to as few as four points, but Holy Family responded with a big 3-pointer by senior Sawyer Dana with 1:25 left in the game. Contreraz went 3-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final minute to seal the win.

Holy Family coach Ron Rossi will attempt to guide the Tigers to their eighth state championship since 2008 on Saturday night.

“Defense wins championships,” Hodell said. “I think if everyone brings that defensive intensity like we did today, especially on (Crittendon) I think we’ll be able to win.”