The task was all but impossible, but not to Broomfield senior Brenna Chase.
Down 24 points to Ralston Valley after a disastrous third quarter of their Class 5A Great 8 playoff game, Chase still believed something magical could happen. The Eagles, after all, were the defending 5A champions are were not going to go down easy.
If you were to witness the way she put the team on her back in that fourth quarter of the game having never seen her before, you caught a perfect snippet of what she had done all season, and in reality through several other games in her prep career despite being surrounded by talent in the past.
When the Eagles needed it most on either end of the floor this season, Chase made a play that almost always defined a win. A steal at the top of the key or out on the wing that ignited a transition opportunity. A blocked shot — anticipation is just kind of her thing — followed by hustle to gain possession. Consistent shooting against the toughest of teams.
"Toughness — the ability to compete at a maximum level regardless of the circumstances, plain and simple," Broomfield head coach Derek Seifried said of Chase. "If I were to summarize everything that she was, it would be effort; she was intentional in everything she did; tremendous determination; and unbelievable character."
For her all-around play and leadership that helped steady a team that underwent a big change at the top, Chase has been named the BoCoPreps.com girls basketball player of the year.
With a new face(Seifried) running the show for the first time in 20 years, not to mention one of the toughest girls to ever come through BHS (Callie Kaiser) having moved on to Colorado State, the Eagles were still a heavy presence on the Colorado basketball scene for several reasons.
Chase topped the list. Bench players often get credit — and earn minutes — for their non-stop hustle, but Chase had the bench-player mentality in her third year of starting as far as never letting anyone have an easy play on her.
She was receptive to change in coaching style, and in fact her and Seifried could often be seen bouncing ideas off each other during any break in action on the court. Offensively and defensively, she relayed everything to her teammates.
As the point guard, that leadership had been placed on her even in Mike Croell's regime. But with a youthful roster, Chase strived to be dependable.
"It's hard with some of the younger players to adjust to a new coach and I think we all just wanted to get on the same page, and I was trying to bring us all together," Chase, who will play at Brigham Young, said. "I really feel like I'm a coach on the court because of that point guard role. I loved to lead and I liked being a senior this year. It taught me a lot of things."
"She guards the way she wouldn't want to be guarded, just someone who is constantly bothering the ball," Seifried said. "From a communication standpoint, we had a great level of trust."
Broomfield barely skipped a beat this year, going 23-3 including 12-0 in the Front Range League. Chase turned in a team-best 14.9 scoring average and was perhaps under-credited with 2.5 assists a game. On the defensive end, she averaged 3.5 steals and 1.3 blocks a contest.
She played tremendous against some tough opponents, including two meetings against Fairview where she combined for 35 points; a 17-point effort against Cherry Creek; a 16-point output against Highlands Ranch; and 21 points in the annual rivalry game against Holy Family.
In the three BHS losses, she averaged 19.3 points while shooting 47.6 percent from the floor.
"We didn't have Callie, and that was different ... I just tried to get everyone into the game and get them going," Chase said. "I really did feel like I needed to score a bit more at times this year. But a lot of girls stepped up this year, and it was fun."
Back to that Great 8 game. Chase had 15 points in that fourth quarter against the Mustangs, helping trim that 24-point RV lead down to nine with still time to pull off a miracle. Though Ralston held on for the win, it certainly made the Mustangs sweat.
And girls coaches all around the state will be wiping their brows knowing they won't have to deal with Brenna Chase any more.