LAFAYETTE — Starting three sophomores and a freshman, the Erie High girls basketball team had been pleasantly surprised to make it through the first four games without a loss.
That inevitable first loss came Saturday night in the final of the Boulder Valley Invitational tournament, 70-59 to the Thomas Jefferson Spartans. Though they didn’t walk away with the tournament title, the Tigers were pleased with just making it to the final with such a young group.
“Despite our loss, we’re super proud of the way we played,” Tigers senior guard Kenzie Kudrna said. “We didn’t give up for one second. We kept pushing and we kept believing. We played as a team the whole time and we had faith in one another. I’ve been playing for Erie for four years and we’ve never made it this far in the BVI.”
The Tigers (4-1) defeated Denver South 42-35 in the first round on Tuesday and outlasted Centaurus 36-34 in the semifinals on Thursday. Against the Spartans (5-1) on Saturday, the Tigers trailed 33-27 at halftime but cut the lead to two points with one minute left in the third quarter before the Spartans pulled away in the fourth.
Kudrna scored 11 points for the Tigers and Darby Berringer led the team with 13. Amanda Farineau scored 12. Annika Turner, who scored 10 points against the Spartans, and Kudrna were both named to the all-tournament team.
“We’re so young and we’re playing really well as a team,” Kudrna said. “It feels so great to really be playing team basketball.”
Against the Spartans, whose power forward Aly Madot and center Essence Reece combined for 35 points, the Tigers were seriously undersized. With the fast pace at which the Spartans play, however, the Tigers did reach a season-high 59 points.
In his first season as the Tigers’ head coach, Bill Giampietro said the team’s early season success has him excited for the upcoming Tri-Valley League season. The Tigers went 8-6 in Tri-Valley League play last year.
“It was intense. It was a great game that was fun to watch and fun to coach,” Giampietro said. “We had some opportunities in the second half where we may have turned it over at a critical time. But this is really big for our girls and our program. We’re grinding and if we lose to a team like that with that kind of pace, it’s acceptable because we can take that, correct it and still improve.
“When we looked at the teams that were here, we knew we would have some good competition so we’re proud of it. It’s a great tournament and it will be nice to play Fort Morgan at home since we’ve had five road games to start the season.”
The Tigers will host Fort Morgan on Tuesday.
Follow Brad on Twitter: twitter.com/BradCochi
Thomas Jefferson 70, Erie 59
At Centaurus H.S.
Autymn Purcell 1 0-0 2, Kenzie Kudrna 2 7-9 11, Amanda Farineau 4 3-8 12, Darby Berringer 4 3-6 13, Alyson Romey 1 2-7 4, McKayley Green 1 0-0 2, Adlee Schenbeck 2 0-0 4, Jade Phillips 0 1-2 1, Annika Turner 4 2-4 10. Totals 16 18-36 59.
THOMAS JEFFERSON (5-1)
Jenny Jacal 2 3-8 7, Avery Carter 3 6-11 12, Helica Moreno 0 0-0 0, Zoya Robbins 5 0-4 11, Armani Robbins 1 3-3 5, Aly Madot 4 3-6 11, Abok Madot 0 0-0 0, Essence Reece 6 12-17 24. Totals 21 27-49 70.
Score by quarters:
Erie 7 20 19 13 —59
Thomas Jefferson 16 17 19 18 — 70
3-point field goals — Erie: Berringer 2, Farineau; Thomas Jefferson: None. Total fouls — Erie 31, Thomas Jefferson 24. Fouled out — Green, Z. Robbins.