BOULDER — For a few frantic moments at the end of the game Thursday night, Fairview senior guard Katie Kuosman looked like she might provide all the firepower the basketball Knights needed to pull off an improbable rally.
In the end, FHS fell just short against a fast-paced Denver East bunch whose only loss this season was a one-point setback against Grandview.
Denver East held on for a 45-42 triumph in the Fairview Festival semifinals to set up a showdown with Class 4A No. 1 Broomfield in Saturday’s 5 p.m. championship game.
“Our girls battled the whole time,” said FHS coach Andre Goldberg, a Knights alum who took over the team the second week of the season after Rod Beauchamp departed for the athletic director post at Broomfield.
Thanks in part to being out-muscled on the boards to the tune of a 43-27 East rebounding edge and being out-run by the Angels in transition, Fairview (4-2) trailed 41-32 with 3 minutes, 35 seconds to play after a layup by East’s Ke’Avae Taylor.
But after a Georgina Ryder bucket cut the deficit to seven, Kuosman went to work with a fastbreak layup and a conventional three-point play that brought the Knights to within 43-39.
East (5-1) — which went 4 for 12 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter while trying to put the game away — then missed four straight from the charity stripe before Kuosman banked home a 3-pointer to make it 43-42 with 24 seconds to go.
East’s Asia Roper, though, got the Angels back on track with two free throws to make it 45-42 with 23 seconds left, and the Knights turned the ball over on their final possession before they could get a shot off.
“We did a real good job fighting the whole time, and they should be proud of the way they played tonight,” Goldberg said of his squad, which had won four straight.
Kuosman finished with 13 points and seven rebounds, and Sarah Kaufman had 14 points to lead the Knights. Ryder added seven points and eight rebounds, but was out-dueled in the post by East senior Francesca Sally, who finished with a game-high 17 points and 15 rebounds.
It was Sally who first pushed East’s edge to nine points, posting up for a bucket to make it 39-30 midway through the fourth quarter.
“To get a win here at Fairview, it’s their tournament, they’re a tough team, we fought hard,” East coach Dwight Berry said. “This was a good win. I think the matchup with Broomfield is going to be a good one.”
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DENVER EAST 45, FAIRVIEW 42
At Fairview HS
DENVER EAST (5-1)
Taylor 3 2-4 8, Cox 1 0-1 3, Jones 0 1-2 1, Roper 2 2-3 6, Calhoun 0 1-2 1, Peevy 1 0-0 2, Sally 7 3-8 17, Vigil 0 3-4 3, Finley-Pond 2 0-0 4. Totals 16 12-24 45.
Kuosman 5 1-1 13, Lai 2 0-0 4, McCambridge 1 0-0 2, McKee 1 0-0 2, Davenport 0 0-0 0, Ryder 3 1-2 7, Kaufman 6 1-3 14. Totals 18 3-6 42.
Score by quarters:
Denver East 11 10 9 15 –45
Fairview 7 9 8 18 — 42
3-point field goals — Denver East (1): Cox; Fairview (3): Kuosman 2, Kaufman. Total fouls — Denver East 13, Fairview 19. Fouled out — None. Technicals — None.