BROOMFIELD — Broomfield head girls basketball coach Mike Croell hadn't lost a game this early in the girls basketball state playoffs in, well, forever. So he certainly didn't want Friday night to be that kind of "first" in his career as an Eagles head coach.
Croell, who has gone 20-for-20 in leading the Eagles to at least the state quarterfinals, was coaching his first girls basketball playoff game in four years following his three-season hiatus from being at the Broomfield helm.
But despite trailing by two halfway through the fourth quarter of a Class 5A round-of-32 contest, the ninth-seeded Eagles overcame 24th-seeded Chatfield 48-45 at home and kept Croell's run of perfection in the early rounds of the state playoffs intact.
"Tonight was pretty dang close — almost a first," he said.
Croell, who guided Broomfield to six state titles in his first 20 years as head coach, has now won 40 of his last 43 games in the girls basketball state playoffs.
Senior Steph Peterson, who recently surpassed 1,000 points for her career, was in danger of missing Friday's game after being in an auto accident on Thursday that totaled her vehicle. Not only did she play — she scored a game-high 22 points and hit three 3-pointers, including one in the fourth quarter. She also drained two free throws with 41.8 seconds remaining that gave Broomfield a three-point lead and proved to be the final points of the game.
"We didn't know if she was going to get to play," Croell said. "She was dead (tired in the first half), but she sucked it up pretty good."
Said Peterson: "I got pretty bad whiplash (from the accident). That kind of threw a wrench in things and I couldn't practice last night. I felt queasy tonight. I kind of threw up in my mouth a couple of times. But it wasn't as bad as I expected. I got checked for a concussion and I didn't have one."
With their 12th straight victory, the Eagles will play at eighth-seeded Windsor in the Sweet 16 on Tuesday. The Wizards beat Legacy 56-38 on Friday to improve to 20-4.
Broomfield is now 21-3 after going a combined 21-29 over the past two seasons combined.
Chatfield, which finished with a winning record (15-10) for the first time in nine years, took a 42-40 lead on a layup by Morgan McKinney in the middle of the fourth quarter. But senior Ellie Keeler hit two straight buckets to put Broomfield ahead for good, and two free throws each by junior Jessica Hoffman and Peterson down the stretch kept Chatfield at bay.
"I think what kept us together is we looked at each other and we knew we could do it," Peterson said. "We just kind of had each other's backs.
"Me and Jessica Hoffman looked at each other and it was like, 'We've got this. We're not losing this game.'"
Hoffman finished with 10 points, hitting all eight of her free throw attempts.
"All you can do is survive and advance, and that's about all we did — survive. Good God," Croell said. "I about had a heart attack. It's exciting to be back, but it's also stressful at times.
"Our defense wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible. We played just good enough down the stretch to keep in the game. And we hit some big buckets and answered some big shots. At this time of the season, that's what you've got to do. It was a gutsy effort."
Broomfield 48, Chatfield 45
At Broomfield HS
Truex 1 0-0 2, E. Talbot 0 2-4 2, G. Talbot 8 1-2 18, Reed 3 0-0 7, Shepard 3 2-4 9, Mullen 2 0-0 5, McKinney 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 5-10 45.
Peterson 8 3-5 22, Keeler 3 0-1 6, Wristen 1 2-6 4, Hoffman 1 8-8 10, Young 1 0-0 3, Rich 1 0-0 3, Abeyta 0 0-0 0, Belton 0 0-0 0, Burgesser 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 13-20 48.
Score by quarters:Chatfield 7 10 14 14 — 45
3-point field goals -- Chatfield (4): Mullen, Reed, Shepard, Talbot; Broomfield (5): Peterson 3, Rich, Young. Total fouls -- Chatfield 16, Broomfield 12. Fouled out -- Shepard.