DENVER – Roosevelt girls basketball coach Enoch Miller is well aware of the expectations on his group and their skill, but it’s easy for spectators to forget the grit this team has shown.

So, when Northfield came roaring back Saturday during the Class 5A championship game at the Denver Coliseum, he certainly wasn’t shocked when his team gutted out a 69-63 victory.

“It took everything we had,” Miller said. “But that’s how it’s been. People say, ‘You’re expected to win; you have this amazing group,’ and we do. But it takes a lot to win at this level, whether it’s injuries or a bad bounce of a ball, call, or whatever. These kids just keep fighting. No matter what, they keep fighting and that’s been the special thing.”

Last year, they trailed Air Academy by 22 points in the Great 8 and trailed at halftime during the state championship game before coming back in both games to secure the first girls basketball title in school history.

This year, an underdog Montrose team led after three quarters in the Great 8 and the semifinal win over Mead was single digits the entire way.

With Northfield, the Roughriders built an early double-digit lead on strong defense before Miller said his opponents “figured it out.”

Roosevelt held Northfield scoreless for the first 4 minutes, 9 seconds before eventually surrendering a layup to make it 11-2. The teams mostly went blow for blow during the rest of the opening quarter before the Roughriders surged in the second quarter. Roosevelt led by as many as 19 points but Nighthawks rallied right before intermission to cut it to 39-29 at half.

(Doug Ottewill/

Midway through the third quarter, a technical foul was assessed against Northfield for six players on the court, followed by an additional tech leveled against a Nighthawks assistant coach. Ryanne Bahsen-Price made all four free throws and the swing hampered a Northfield run that had cut a double-digit lead down to seven points.

The Nighthawks did make a dent in the lead during the fourth quarter, coming as close as three points with 4:29 to go on a bucket from Nashara Ellerbe, then two points with 1:54 to go on free throws from Ellerbe, but saw Roosevelt close out the game on free throws and layups.

Kyla Hollier led the Roughriders with 26 points and 11 rebounds, while Bahnsen-Price finished with 15 points to eclipse 1,000 points in her career. The achievement was announced during the first quarter of the contest and after the game, she was gifted a commemorative basketball signed by her teammates and coaches.

Miller said the coaches had been tracking the progress toward the milestone throughout the season and said achieving it during the title game “makes it even more special.”

Bahsen-Price celebrated with her team, then a rowdy Roughriders student section, reflecting on the team’s second straight championship.

Unlike last year’s team, where Roosevelt returned every player, five seniors will graduate from this roster, four of whom average between six and 11 points per game. Bahsen-Price said she’s proud to have picked up a second title for Kinsey Trujillo, Brooklyn Meza, Madison Moyers, Brynn Price and Sienna Siskowski.

“I was so excited because we have five seniors and this was their chance to go out with a state championship,” Bahsen-Price said. “It’s huge for our school. Last year we got the first in school history and now it’s two, and that’s something I think everybody is going to remember for a long time.

While much of the team’s scoring and rotational depth is graduating, both leading scorers — Hollier and Bahsen-Price — will likely return next season, setting up the Roughriders for a potential three-peat.

(Doug Ottewill/