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Girls basketball: BC Denver barnstorming nation behind local talent

David Jennings
Broomfield’s Bri Wilber launches a jumper during a recent workout for her club team BC Denver.

Bri Wilber has made a name for herself over the years with the Broomfield girls basketball team.

As a freshman, the point guard hit the key overtime baskets that led to the Eagles’ historic fifth Class 4A state championship. More recently, the feisty senior-to-be has become one of the team’s most daunting defenders.

Wilber has had an outsized influence on Broomfield’s fortunes, but Eagles Gym is far from the only place where she has made an impact. The backcourt player has also become one of the main cogs in what has become one of the region’s most successful club teams — BC Denver.

And it is a role she has more than relished in the year she has been on the team.

“I feel a lot more intense in this season,” Wilber said. “The way the game is played at this level is more aggressive. In high school I would get called for using an arm-bar, here it’s just part of the game.”

Wilber has good reason to bring her A-game to BC Denver. The team’s roster reads like a who’s who of Boulder and Broomfield county girls basketball. The core of the club’s two teams is made up of players from Broomfield, Boulder, Fairview, Monarch, and Legacy, along with a smattering of Adams County athletes.

While coach Geoff Golden has been impressed with the overall play of his team, some of the top performances have come through names very familiar with local hoops fans. Golden has built BC Denver’s core around Wilber and Callie Kaiser of Broomfield, Annika Lai and Sarah Kaufman of Fairview, and Courtney Smith of Legacy.

“They’ve been our big five, so to speak,” Golden said. “They’ve started most of the games for us, but we’re solid top to bottom.”

Golden’s main aim with the program is player development over the course of 40 or so games in the spring or summer. But there are no illusions from the coach or his players that exposure to college programs is the name of the game.

The club’s schedule is generated around the NCAA viewing periods, when college coaches are allowed to scout potential players at tournaments. Presently, BC Denver is in the midst of its most important stretches in this direction. The team left July 5 for the End of the Trail Tournament in Portland, Ore., and the Nike National Invitational in Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center.

“The Chicago tournament is actually setting records for attendance this season,” Golden said. “There are 40 courts under one roof.”

BC Denver has held its own so far on the national stage, going 4-2 at a Phoenix-based tournament in the spring. The team’s athletic talent certainly has played a role in it keeping pace with some of the best programs in the country. But from Kaufman’s perspective, physical ability is not the squad’s only key to success.

“It’s been a lot of girls who are passionate about basketball coming together,” the Fairview guard said. “It’s great playing in an environment like this.”

Tip-top performances are the goal, in hopes of catching coaches’ eyes. BC Denver has done well in this department with Golden having gotten calls about some of his top girls from top college programs.

Even with so much riding on the games, the pressure does not have a tendency of building at the events. Typically, there is too much basketball being played.

“If you have a bad game, you’ve always got another one the next day or in 2 hours,” Legacy post Smith said. “Really, you just have to play it game by game.”

There is plenty riding on the club basketball season, but most of the BC Denver girls have lived up to their own exacting standards. And in the end, they have put on the moves they believe will turn heads.

“For me, its been one of my best seasons,” Wilber said. “I’ve shot well and played well. I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished.”

Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton