BROOMFIELD — Is there anything sweeter than basketball rivalries? There is, when it is between teams the caliber of Legacy’s and Broomfield’s girls squads.
The neighborhood match between the state powerhouses Saturday at Legacy played out just as expected — tooth and nail to the very end. But when the final buzzer sounded it was Class 5A’s third-ranked Lightning who came out on top.
Steady free-throw shooting down the stretch earned Legacy a 60-53 win over 4A’s second-ranked Eagles. It also marked Broomfield’s first loss since a Jan. 29, 2011, game at Holy Family — a stretch of 19 games.
Despite the game playing closer than last year’s installment of the rivalry, the Lightning’s second-consecutive win was just as sweet.
“You always want to beat the cross-town rival,” Lightning forward Caitlyn Smith said. “It’s just a great win.”
Legacy (7-2, 1-1) put the five-time 4A state champions away scoring the last eight points in the final 2 minutes of play. The run erased Broomfield’s (7-1, 2-0) final lead of the afternoon, but came in nervy fashion.
The Lightning hit 6-of-8 free throws to finish the game, Smith went a perfect 4-for-4 to finish with a game-high 19 points. But up to that point foul shots had been a shaky proposition for Legacy, with the team finishing 18-of-25 from the stripe.
“When my (free throws) went in it was a relief,” Smith said. “When Emily (Glen) hit her’s and so did Kailey (Edwards) it was great.”
Smith not only provided her team its final points, but also much of the Lightning’s early spark. Broomfield wanted to drive the lane to open the game and the forward presented a sizable obstacle. And she gave the Eagles few second chances, Smith finished with 11 rebounds to record her second double-double of the season. Her first came in Legacy’s win Friday night, over Boulder.
“With the way Caitlyn played this summer, I been waiting for these breakthrough performances,” Legacy coach Craig Van Patten said. “I think she just needed to build some confidence in filling out her role on this team.”
Legacy got offensive support from Edwards (17 points) and Glen (10). Despite pushing three girls into double digits, the Lightning had their hands full with Broomfield.
The Eagles’ defense was staunch as always, slowing down the state’s 14th highest scoring team in the state. But it was the Eagles’ offense that set Legacy on its heels.
The Eagles came out of half and hit the paint hard, with their push inside leading to the team’s highest scoring quarter of the season. The team’s biggest run of its 22-point period came between the 6- and 2-minute marks. In that time, Broomfield outscored Legacy 14-4 to take its first lead since the opening period.
Bri Wilber and Megan Prins were the movers in run, combining for 14 points.
Wilber had success all over the court, driving the lane twice successfully and hitting a 3-pointer. And while Prins could not sink a field goal in the third, she was adept at drawing the foul, then making her free throws.
“We gave everything this afternoon,” said the post, who hit 7-of-8 free throws in the period. “It’s a hard loss, because we knew we could beat them.”
Legacy 60, Broomfield 53
BROOMFIELD (7-1, 2-0)
Rynearson 1 0-0 2, Wilber 7 0-0 17, Prins 1 9-10 11, Lehrer 5 2-2 12, Zec 0 1-2 1, Hull 3 2-2 8, Kaiser 1 0-0 2. Total 18 14-16 53.
LEGACY (7-2, 1-1)
Glen 2 6-8 10, Salaz 3 0-0 9, Edwards 5 6-11 17, Ca. Smith 6 6-7 19, Co. Smith 2 0-0 5. Total 18 18-25 60.
Score by quarters:
Broomfield 10 6 22 15 — 53
Legacy 13 9 21 17 — 60
3-point field goals — Broomfield (3): Wilber 3; Legacy (6): Salaz 3, Edwards, Smith. Total fouls — Broomfield 15; Legacy 16. Fouled out — Hull. Technical fouls — none.