LAFAYETTE - It didn't look good and that included before tip-off. Centaurus had been battling injuries for much of the season and three Warriors were in question in a Class 4A first-round playoff game against Lewis-Palmer. Plus, the hosts shot an icy 8-of-32 in the first half.
So what happened?
"Brooke Jones happened," coach Chris Mischke said.
She certainly did - the senior, in her first game back since missing the previous two with an ankle injury, took over in the second half and led the surge that produced a 43-36 decision on Tuesday night over the Rangers. The Warriors, now 18-6 and the No. 19 seed, will hit the road for as long as they are able to advance barring major upsets. They will travel to Palisade, which had an opening-round bye, for a Friday matchup.
Ibuprofen and pain were Jones' things. She handled both.
"I could hardly walk outside of basketball," Jones said of her past few days. "But it felt good. It's senior year, first playoff game ... I just took a ton of ibuprofen.
"(At halftime), it was a lot of verbal lifting each other up when some mistakes were made. It's the first playoff game since I've been here and we just pushed through."
Lewis-Palmer, which ended 10-14 and entered as the 46th seed, led 19-18 at half and Mischke said he was thrilled. For all of Centaurus' mistakes - suspect shooting, poor shot section, failure to take care of the ball and missing free throws - his team didn't dig themselves much of a hole.
Enter Jones. Normally a starter, but the Warriors' third person off the bench, she scored nine of her team-high 15 points in the third quarter as Centaurus took command in building a 31-24 lead.
"She started slicing through the 'D' as we went from just passing it around and looking for an open shot ... and we missed a ton of shots."
Sophomore Helen Gover threw in 10 of her 14 points in the second quarter to get the Warriors within striking distance, then made 4-of-5 free throws when needed late as Lewis-Palmer, led by Katy Hovasse's 17 points, didn't go away.
Brooke Calvo added 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch and Jones made a key 2-pointer from the top of the key, then a large 3-pointer from a corner.
And her bum ankle during the turn-around?
"Yes, it hurt in the first half, but after halftime we turned it on; and no, it didn't hurt," she said.
The Warriors, who tied with Greeley Central for the Northern League title, also overcame 11-of-20 free-throw shooting.
"As a first-year coach, we've struggled with and battled shot selection and they don't necessarily understand game situations," Mischke said. "But we knew we were the better team. We just had to make shots."
The Warriors shot 5-of-10 from the floor in the third quarter and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line over the final 8 minutes. The Rangers, who had their own scoring problems in the middle two quarters - they totaled just 14 points - also failed to make a 3-pointer.
Centaurus 41, Lewis-Palmer 36
Schafer 0 0-0 0, Blowe 2 3-4 7, Hovasse 7 3-3 17, Tucker 3 0-0 6, Enget 1 2-4 4, Shepherd 1 0-0 2, Neal 0 0-0 0, Farrell, 0 0-2 0, Kazlausky 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 8-13 36.
Gover 4 4-5 14, Calvo 2 3-6 7, Licata 1-4 3, Negrey 0 0-0 0, West 2 0-0 4, Anderson 0 0-0 0, Taylorgoodall 0 0-0 0, Jones 5 3-5 15. Totals 14 11-20 43..
Score by quarters:Lewis-Palmer 12 7 7 10 — 36
Centaurus 5 13 13 12 — 43
3-point field goals — Centaurus (3): Gover 2, Jones.Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — none.