LAFAYETTE — Beating Niwot on Wednesday night was not going to guarantee the Centaurus girls a spot in the Class 4A postseason.
But for Warriors junior Brooke Jones, playing like it was meant all the difference in the world in a 57-34 Northern League win at CHS.
Knowing a victory could put a cushion between her team and idle Silver Creek in the race for second place in the league standings, Jones put up 18 points and added 10 rebounds to ensure that the team is in control of its own destiny.
A victory Friday against Mountain View, which is winless in conference play, is the only thing standing in the way of the state tournament.
"We came out prepared because it was senior night and we knew Niwot played us close last time. Really, I think we knew we were going to have a good night," Jones said after a 6-for-12 shooting night. "We were pumped this week for this game."
Niwot (13-9, 5-8 league) put a scare into the Warriors the first series meeting, a 47-41 decision at Niwot that represented one of CHS' closest wins. This time around, however, turnovers and transition finishes had Centaurus (18-3, 9-3) running from the start.
They led 17-3 into the second quarter, playing with a little bit of flash on the breakout, too. Unselfishly, the Warriors made the extra pass on 2-on-1 breakaways for the easier basket.
Lindsi Calvo had a couple of those transition baskets on her way to 14 points, as well, and Helen Gover pitched in eight points in the first half as CHS held a 29-10 lead at the half.
Niwot had one serious run in it, getting to the line in the second quarter to make it 21-10 with just about 2 minutes left, but a big sequence righted the ship for the hosts.
Gover had five points in a span of just seconds, getting a 3-pointer to go and then immediately following up a turnover with a layup to make it 26-10, and Calvo nailed a 3-pointer to get to the halftime score and put the Warriors at ease again.
Jones, however, continued to drive hard to the basket (making 6 of 8 free throws after halftime) and dive for tip opportunities defensively. The rest of the team followed suit in many ways, forcing Niwot into 27 turnovers.
"We have a great bond on this team, and we're showing we play so well together which helps our fluidity," Jones said. "Coach (Liz Russell) told us to play with heart, and it was just a reminder to me to have fun out there. You make it a fun game over an important game."
Niwot's Sophie Grant had nine points and seven rebounds in the loss.
Centaurus 57, Niwot 34
At Centaurus HS
NIWOT (13-9, 5-8)
A. Mercier 0 0-2 0, Gonzalez 1 2-3 4, Setter 4 1-3 9, E. Mercier 1 2-2 4, Chen 1 0-0 2, Gillett 0 4-4 4, Jenkins 1 0-1 2, Strope 0 0-0 0, Grant 2 5-8 9, Allen 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 14-23 34.
CENTAURUS (18-3, 9-3)
Gover 3 0-0 8, B. Calvo 2 1-2 5, Xiong 0 1-2 1, Jones 6 6-9 18, Negrey 0 0-1 0, Reed 0 0-0 0, L. Calvo 5 3-4 14, Licata 2 0-0 4, Visscher 0 0-0 0, Gofran 2 1-2 5, West 0 0-0 0, Koeller 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 12-20 57.
Score by quarters:Niwot 3 7 11 13 — 34
Centaurus 13 16 15 13 — 57
3-point field goals — Centaurus (3): Gover 2, L. Calvo.