BROOMFIELD — They just would not go away.
For Vanessa Romo and the rest of the girls basketball team at Legacy, a second meeting against Pomona on Tuesday night was a frightful scenario given the 7-16 Panthers had played the Lightning pretty tough at LHS back on December 2.
This time around, however, the Lightning had the added pressure of being in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs — which also meant the team's biggest game in two seasons.
The Lightning gym once again turned frantic as the host and No. 28 seed Legacy — a three-win team a year ago — squandered a 13-point fourth quarter lead and let the contest slip into overtime. Yet by scoring the first five points of the extra session they managed to hold off the No. 37 seed, 60-55, to advance to the second round of the postseason.
Legacy out-paced Pomona 11-6 in overtime, but it was an intentional foul called with 13.1 seconds left putting freshman Halle Mackiewicz at the line with possession to follow that ended up playing the biggest part of the outcome.
Mackiewicz hit both of her shots and Olivia Zamora followed with another free throw to make it a two-possession game, and Romo added her 21st point of the game a couple ticks later to assure a trip to No. 5 seed Fruita Monument on Friday.
"Came down to free throws, boxing out and just playing hard as a team all together," said Romo, who added 15 rebounds to her impressive outing. "We just had to dig deep for this one, and it's just a great example of how we've grown — from winning three games last year to now, just a huge growth."
"We knew they were going to make a run at some point because we had played them close the first time we saw them," Legacy coach Craig Van Patten said, his team improving to 15-9 with another of those wins a narrow 62-57 victory at Pomona's expense. "We lost our composure for a bit, and that momentum is a tough thing to regain once it's gone. Luckily, we hit free throws to win that one."
It's difficult to miss the playoffs entirely, but the Lightning were one of those unfortunate squads last year. The team trudged through the Front Range League and lost the last three regular season contests, but on Tuesday they appeared to have all the confidence in the world as they built a 38-23 lead with 3 minutes, 43 seconds to go in the third quarter.
By the 6:41 mark of the fourth, though, Pomona had cut the lead to single digits at 40-31 and the Panthers continued to rally. Julia Trujillo got going inside, scoring eight of her 18 points in the final frame, and Alexus Spinks also hit two 3-pointers.
With 16 seconds left, Abriana Rodriguez scored a putback to tie the game at 49-49.
But Legacy gathered its bearings and Mackiewicz scored the first of five straight for LHS to build another 54-49 lead. Katelyn Pedersen also hit her only basket of the game to make it 56-52 before another Pomona 3-pointer jazzed up the crowd again.
Mackiewicz was on a breakaway when she was fouled hard, thus the reason for the intentional foul call. Legacy made 7 of 10 free throws in overtime and 22 of 29 for the game.
"I thought it was (intentional) but a lot of times you don't get that call," Van Patten said. "Fortunately we did, and that was a freshman who stepped up and nailed those.
"The senior class went through some pretty tough times last year (as juniors) but stuck it out, worked hard this summer and we turned some things around. To get a victory in the playoffs, that even makes their work more worthwhile."
Legacy 60, Pomona 55 (OT)
At Legacy HS
Madden 4 0-2 11, Roberts 0 0-0 0, Merlos 0 0-0 0, Madrill 1 0-0 3, Ramirez 5 2-8 12, Trujillo 7 4-4 18, Spinks 4 0-0 11, Rodriguez 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 6-14 55.
Kenson 0 4-4 4, Valenzuela 4 2-2 11, Pedersen 1 0-0 2, Beck 1 1-2 3, Zamora 1 4-8 6, Romo 6 6-7 21, Mackiewicz 4 4-4 12, Carlson 0 1-2 1. Totals 17 22-29 60.
Score by quarters:Pomona 11 7 9 22 6 — 55
Legacy 13 17 8 11 11 — 60
3-point field goals — Pomona (7): Madden 3, Spinks 3, Madrill; Legacy (4): Romo 3, Valenzuela. Fouled out — Trujillo.