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Girls basketball: Broomfield pulls away to knock out Palmer Ridge

DENVER — The Denver Coliseum had pretty much cleared out by the time the Broomfield girls basketball team got on the court Saturday night. That only meant for more of a home-court feel for the top seed in the Class 4A tournament bracket.

With business in mind, the spacious arena collapsed into the friendly confines of the BHS gym, at least it did so in the minds of the players even though a spot in the Final Four was on the line against upstart Palmer Ridge.

Composed and cerebral, Broomfield had no problems sealing their 12th semifinals appearance under coach Mike Croell, this time dispatching the Bears 74-51.

Even a 1 hour, 15-minute delay to get started was brushed off rather easily, and Broomfield (26-0) pulled away in the second half against a Palmer Ridge team that was looking for its first semifinal berth.

“Every game, home or away, it’s just about us playing hard,” said Bri Wilber, who scored 18 points on 6 of 11 shooting. “(During the delay), we talked through the game, talked about what we wanted to do, listened to some music, waited the whole day.

“But I think our energy was built up so much from that … waiting to play.”

“We try to never let the environment affect us, wherever we’re playing,” said Nicole Lehrer, one of the few seniors on this team looking for the school’s sixth championship. “We have a focus. We seem to go without distractions, just wanting to go play our four quarters, get the win and get out. That’s what we did.”

After a tighter-than-usual first half — Broomfield still held a 37-28 advantage — the Eagles continued to rely on the bread-and-butter pressure defense to supply the big run they needed.

Fueled by finishes from several players, Broomfield went on a 13-2 run through the middle of the third quarter that pushed a 39-32 lead all the way to 52-34.

“We had so many times in the first half where we’d be up by 10 and we’d let them get back in it,” Lehrer said. “But we just said at halftime that once we got that next double-digit lead that we just had to keep going and not let up. That’s what we did in the third, and Bri and Callie (Kaiser) both came out strong there. It kind of fueled the rest of the team.”

The Eagles were balanced, and they needed to be as Kaiser got caught in early foul trouble. She played just 4 minutes in the first half with two fouls, but Wilber appreciated the effort from her teammates with Kaiser on the bench.

Lehrer scored all 15 of her points in the first half, and Brenna Fankell and Brenna Chase also found the right times to drive hard to the hoop. Chase finished with 19.

“We knew Callie was going to get back into the game, and we just held our ground until she was,” Wilber said. “Nicole was a big part of that. A quiet scorer, but she does everything so well.”

The Eagles had just 10 turnovers for the game, compared to 24 for Palmer Ridge (22-4). To their credit, the Bears had 17 turnovers in the first half but were resilient enough to keep pounding away inside when they had the chance.

Ali Meyer led Palmer Ridge with 19 points and added 12 rebounds.

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Broomfield 74, Palmer Ridge 51

At Denver Coliseum


Sam Rippley 3 0-2 7, Libbey Acker 1 0-0 2, Carley Campbell 1 0-0 2, Rhyley Lane 2 2-2 8, MacKenzie Gouner 0 0-0 0, Ali Meyer 8 3-4 19, Laura McCarthy 3 1-2 7, Michelle DeCoud 3 0-0 6. Totals 21 6-10 51.


Katie Stirling 0 0-0 0, Callie Kaiser 4 2-2 10, Bri Wilber 6 5-6 18, Fallyn Reed 0 0-0 0, Meghan Stovall 1 0-0 2, Maddie Kern 0 0-0 0, Nicole Lehrer 5 5-6 15, Brenna Chase 7 2-2 19, Cherokee Rohrbaugh 0 0-0 0, Brenna Fankell 4 2-2 10, Haley Dean 0 0-0 0, Stacie Hull 0 0-0 0 . Totals 27 16-18 74.

Score by quarters:

Palmer Ridge 16 12 12 11 — 51

Broomfield 21 16 25 12 — 74

3-point field goals — Palmer Ridge (3): Rippley, Lane 2; Broomfield (4): Chase 3, Wilber. Total fouls — Palmer Ridge 14; Broomfield 13.

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