BROOMFIELD — Six lead changes in the final quarter saw both the Jefferson Academy Jaguars and Prospect Ridge Academy Miners girls basketball teams have a chance at getting an important Metro League win Tuesday.
But with a couple of stops and free throws to secure it, Prospect Ridge Academy came away with a 42-38 road win for its first league win of the season. The win also evened up its record at 5-5 on the season.
"It was really satisfying," Miners senior Molly O'Flannigan said. "We were coming off a tough loss to Lutheran, so it was nice to get back on top. We had enough hype to really bring it back on top for us."
The Miners would have their chances late but did not hold a lead for much of the first half. Only three leads were given to the Miners in the first two quarters, though they remained in striking distance throughout. O'Flannigan and Sierra Leopold tried to anchor the team in the paint with their height advantage but could not make enough shots early to capitalize in the half. Six different players would score for the Jaguars against the 2-3 zone to give them the 21-18 lead at the break.
Jefferson Academy coach Crystal Deichert credited her defense for keeping them in the low-scoring game, particularly against the two bigs inside.
"It was definitely a challenge," Deichert said. "We out-rebounded (Prospect Ridge Academy), and that was a big benefit for us."
The Jaguars gained an eight-point lead early in the third quarter and were looking to put the game out of reach. A steady defensive effort by the Miners, though, prevented the lead from going to double figures as they clogged the paint and forced shots from the outside. On offense, they continued to attack the rim — the effort translating to a rally and an early lead in the fourth quarter.
"All of us as a team, our minds are close together," O'Flannigan said. "We're almost like a family in that. That kind of spirit was huge in the last minutes."
Free throws and shots in the paint from both teams saw the lead switch back and forth until the final minutes. Leopold put the Miners in front with a free throw and Alex Weber added two more to give them a 41-38 lead with 30 seconds to go. Jefferson Academy would be called for a moving screen on a play to try and tie the game, and a final free throw from PRA's Jocelyn Korbe sealed the win.
For the Miners, the win is something they hope will bring confidence as they face Manual on Thursday.
"This was really important and satisfying," O'Flannigan said. "It's good to get that first league win under our belt. This one will give us more motivation."
As for the Jaguars, they hope to bounce back Thursday against St. Mary's Academy on the road after a tough loss on their home floor.
"We have a lot of positives from this still," Deichert said. "We played great defense. Our shots just didn't fall tonight."
Prospect Ridge Academy 42, Jefferson Academy 38
At Jefferson Academy School
Prospect Ridge Academy (5-5, 1-1)
Alex Weber 3 6-8 13, Brittany Gioso 4 3-6 12, Molly O'Flannigan 5 1-2 11, Jocelyn Korbe 0 3-6 3, Isabelle Stelpstra 1 0-0 2, Sierra Leopold 0 1-2 2.
Jefferson Academy (4-5, 1-2)
Becka Ballard 4 1-2 10, Laura Riley 4 1-2 9, Rachel Moreno 2 2-2 8, Lily Thimsen 1 2-2 5, Jordan Neely 2 0-0 4, Brooklyn Kirkpatrick 1 0-0 2.
Score by quarters:
Prospect Ridge Academy (5-5, 1-1) 10 8 5 19 — 42
Jefferson Academy (4-5, 1-2) 13 8 7 10 — 38
3-point field goals — Prospect Ridge Academy(2): Weber, Gioso; Jefferson Academy(4): Moreno 2, Ballard, Thimsen. Total fouls — Prospect Ridge Academy 12, Jefferson Academy 20. Fouled out — Thimsen.