DENVER — It was a busy week for the state champion Broomfield Eagles.
Callie Kaiser and Brenna Chase have soaked every single bit of their state title run in over the last three weeks and on Saturday at the Pepsi Center, the Eagles duo suited up one last time for the Gold Team in the annual all-star extravaganza known as The Show.
Playing for ThunderRidge coach Paula Krueger — whom they beat in the final at Coors Events Center 47-42 for the title — Kaiser and Chase combined for 16 points in the Gold Team’s 67-64 victory.
“It was a lot of fun. Those girls are fun to play with and they are all really good,” said Chase, a junior who scored seven points and pulled down three rebounds on Saturday. “I’m sad I don’t get to play with (Callie) again, but she is a great player and I know she will go far in the future.”
The normally relaxed feel of the exhibition game took on a different feel late when the Blue Team — that included Monarch’s Raegan Rohn and Legacy’s Courtney Smith — rallied from a 49-38 deficit after three quarters to within a single possession.
Behind Grandview’s Michaela Onyenwere, who led all scorers with 16 points and eight rebounds, the Blue made it 67-65 late and forced Krueger to call a timeout with under 30 seconds left on the clock.
She knew the Blue was going to need to foul and press from the get-go. She drew up a play to get the ball in the hands of Kaiser, whom she watched go 9 for 11 in the title game at the line. Kaiser, who finished with nine points and eight rebounds, connected on 1 of 2 to add to the final deficit. The Blue Team didn’t get another shot off before the clock ran out.
“You always want to win if you are a competitive player and I am a very competitive person,” Chase said. “I know a lot of the girls on the other team, so it was really fun to play with them and against them. I’m glad we won.”
Fossil Ridge’s Brooke Pemberton led the Gold Team with 12 points and was the only player in double figures for them.
The competitive juices were flowing for Smith, too.
“When we were down by three, I was like we have to win this,” said Smith, who will play in Greeley next season for the UNC Bears. “We knew we had to get the ball to Michaela, because she was a scoring machine.”
In stark contrast to the usual animosity between Legacy and Broomfield, Smith, who played club ball with Kaiser, was a little stunned to be on the opposite bench from the Eagles.
“Let’s just say, Id’ rather be on their team,” said Smith with a smirk.
It was a fun way to play her final high school game for Smith, whose season came to an unexpected early end in the playoffs at home to Castle View in overtime.
“We didn’t do very well in state, so it was a lot of fun to do this with a lot of great talent from all over the state of Colorado,” said Smith, who finished with two points and three rebounds.
Rohn passed up on a lot of shots and instead was content to pass the ball around to a bevy a scorers. The Monarch guard was the only player not to score, but she did finish with one rebound, an assist and a steal.
In the boys game, Longmont’s Justinian Jessup just had to try his luck from NBA 3-point range.
After hitting two triples in the fourth quarter to bring the Gold Team all the way against the Blue and force overtime, the Longmont junior figured, why not?
With the “first bucket scores, wins” overtime rules in play, Jessup nearly ended it with a long-range shot that looked good in the air.
“That was even a little deep for me, obviously,” said Jessup, who was named the 2015 BoCoPreps.com Player of the Year for leading the Trojans to a state runner-up finish in Class 4A. “I probably should have scooted in, but it felt good when I let it go.”
On the next Blue Team possession, Denver East’s Brian Carey — who led all scorers with 24 points en route to MVP honors — created some space and hit an eight-foot jumper from just outside the lane to win the game 84-82.
Playing under the direction of Pueblo Central coach Brad Ranson, Jessup hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter to open his scoring.
He was held in check until the fourth quarter, when the Golds went on a run to cut what was a double-digit bulge for the Blues. The southpaw hit two top-of-the-arc bombs to bring his scoring total to nine points.
“It’s an honor to be able to play against these guys, it’s the top talent in the state,” Jessup said. “I just tried to take advantage of it. It was a good time.”
Chaparral’s Chris Moody led the balanced scoring attack for the Gold with 17 points. Overland’s Austin Conway and Arvada West’s Thomas Neff each had 11 and both Lincoln’s Michael Sparks and Rampart’s Donovan Oldham had 10.
Jessup wasn’t at all wowed by the scene and played a very relaxed game, that turned very competitive late.
“The first time you walk into the Pepsi Center and you realize you are going to play there, it is kind of crazy,” said Jessup, who was proud to represent all of the BoCo region in the boys game. “I had some people come out today and I want to thank them, especially my family.”
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Gold Team 67, Blue Team 64
At Pepsi Center
Sarah Logar (Peyton) 1 0-0 2, Raegen Rohn (Monarch) 0 0-0 0, Cassidy Budge (Rampart) 3 0-0 7, Haley Simental (Pueblo West) 4 2-2 12, Jennah Knafelc (Arapahoe) 1 1-1 3, Michaela Onyenwere (Grandview) 6 4-7 16, Jon’Nae Richardson (Denver East) 3 4-6 11, Jenn Unbaniak (Palmer) 1 2-2 4, Molly Rohrer (Cherry Creek) 2 3-3 7, Courtney Smith (Legacy) 1 0-0 2. Totals 22 16-21 64.
Sydni Brandon (Grand Junction) 3 1-3 7, Jordan Williams (Norwood) 1 0-0 2, Brenna Chase (Broomfield) 2 2-3 7, Jess Lewis (Regis Jesuit) 2 0-1 5, Nicole Archambeua (Canon City) 2 1-2 5, Kaleigh Paplow (Lutheran) 3 1-1 7, Callie Kaiser (Broomfield) 3 3-6 9, Taylor Rusk (ThunderRidge) 3 1-1 8, Brooke Pemberton (Fossil Ridge) 4 3-4 11, Kylee Shook (Mesa Ridge) 2 1-2 6. Totals 25 13-23 67.
Score by quarters:
Blue 14 16 8 26 — 64
Gold 13 14 22 18 — 67
3-point field goals — Blue (4): Simental 2, Budge, Richardson; Gold (4): Chase, Lewis, Rusk, Shook. Total fouls — Blue 15; Gold 17.
Blue Team 84, Gold Team 82 (OT)
At Pepsi Center
Brian Carey (Denver East) 9 3-3 24, Elijah Ross (Eaglecrest) 2 1-2 5, Colbey Ross (Eaglecrest) 3 1-2 8, Malik Hart (Montbello) 1 0-0 2, Justin Bassey (Colorado Academy) 4 0-2 8, Grant Harkness (Faith Christian) 2 2-2 6, Blend Avdili (Eaglecrest) 4 0-2 8, Charles Gavin (Denver South) 6 2-2 14, Zach Pirog (ThunderRidge) 4 0-0 8. Totals 35 9-15 84.
Austin Conway (Overland) 4 2-2 11, Michael Sparks (Abraham Lincoln) 3 3-4 10, Tanner Smith (Jim Elliot) 0 1-2 1, Michael Ranson 2 0-0 5, Justinian Jessup (Longmont) 3 0-0 9, Donovan Oldham (Rampart) 5 0-0 10, Thomas Neff (Arvada West) 4 2-2 11, Chris Moody (Chaparral) 6 5-6 17, Jake Holtzmann (Chaparral) 1 0-0 2, Ryan Quaid (Fossil Ridge) 3 0-2 6. Totals 31 13-18 82.
Score by quarters:
Blue 19 17 16 20 2 — 84
Gold 17 20 24 21 0 — 82
3-point field goals — Blue (5): Carey 3, C. Ross, Hart; Gold (7): Jessup 3, Conway, Sparks, Ranson, Neff. Total fouls — Blue 10; Gold 9.