LONGMONT — Lindrey Schendel, Alyssa McKrola and Ashayla Powers have led the Skyline Falcons all season long, whether it was with their scoring, rebounding or defense.
When it mattered most, the trio came to the rescue for the Falcons to avoid a Class 4A first-round playoff upset on their home floor Tuesday.
The Falcons used an 11-3 run in the third quarter to grab the lead and finished off the Lewis-Palmer Rangers in the fourth for a 48-38 win of the state tournament, reversing the exact situation from a year ago.
"Last year, we lost to (Lewis-Palmer) in the first round of the playoffs," Schendel said. "It was a good comeback win for us."
McKrola started the game-changing run in the third quarter with a three-point play on a foul driving to the rim, and she added two more free throws shortly after. Powers would tie the game at 26-26 with her bucket in the paint and Schendel put the team in front with a layup and two free throws in the final minute of the quarter.
It was a big difference compared to the first half that saw Lewis-Palmer hit five shots from behind the 3-point line and hold the Falcons to 17 points to take a 22-17 lead into the break.
"When we went into the half, we were all disappointed," McKrola said. "We were expecting to be up. I think that got to us."
The three juniors again got rolling early in the fourth to stay in front while the Rangers were hanging around. Once the Falcons got into the bonus, the lead would grow with Schendel having a career night from the free throw line, where she hit 13 of 14 attempts.
"I'm not that confident (at the line), so I was surprised I made that many," Schendel said.
Powers returned after sitting with four fouls to score a couple of points late and McKrola helped the two rebound on defense to finish the job.
The three juniors came in averaging 39 points per game and were right around that average with 40 combined points versus the Rangers.
"We do pretty well in keeping the team together," Schendel said. "It's good to have us three together pushing together."
Schendel's big night at the free throw line led her to a game-high 21 points to go with her 12 rebounds. Powers and McKrola both came up just short of double-doubles, with Powers getting 10 points and eight rebounds while McKrola finished with nine points and 10 boards.
Tuesday marked the first time in more than a decade that the Falcons have won in the playoffs. Their journey continues in the second round with the No. 11 seed Ponderosa Mustangs (16-7).
"I expect us to play our hearts out," McKrola said. "I want us to leave our hearts on the court (Friday), whether we win or lose."
Skyline 48, Lewis-Palmer 38
At Skyline High School
Mia Darwood 4 2-2 12, Ally Delange 3 3-6 10, Bridget Cassidy 3 0-0 9, Kim Tucker 1 1-2 4, Lindsey Estes 1 0-0 2, Riley Enget 0 1-2 1, Ellie Crisler 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 6-13 38.
Lindrey Schendel 4 13-14 21, Ashayla Powers 4 2-3 10, Alyssa McKrola 2 4-6 9, Molly Hennessy 2 0-0 4, Charlee Neb 2 0-2 4. Totals 14 19-26 48.
Score by quarters:Lewis-Palmer (8-16) 12 10 6 10 — 38
3-point field goals — Lewis-Palmer(7): Cassidy 3, Darwood 2, Tucker, Delange; Skyline(1): McKrola. Total fouls — Lewis-Palmer 24, Skyline 15. Fouled out — Crisler, Estes, Enget, Powers. Technical fouls — none.