BROOMFIELD — Should the Legacy girls basketball team stay in or around their current position in the Class 5A state ratings percentage index for the next couple of weeks, the Lightning are candidates to surprise a team or two in the playoffs if they can get healthy.
As of right now, with star sophomore Halle Mackiewicz just getting back into action after suffering an elbow injury, Legacy has found itself fighting hard to stay in games against similar teams.
Unfortunately, those type of games have seen some heartbreaking results toward their record, and Thursday night’s 51-49 home loss to Rocky Mountain was just par for the course coming off a 5-5 month of January.
The Lightning and Lobos were 29th and 30th, respectively in the RPI prior to the tip in a Front Range League game, and the teams proved to be evenly matched. But Rocky Mountain’s double-digit lead in the third quarter ended up to be enough to hold off a furious rally from Legacy — though the Lightning had a chance to tie or win the game with 5.9 seconds left.
“The girls have battled really hard the last four or five games, and it doesn’t show in our win-loss record but from where we were at the beginning … we’ve fought hard and improved,” Legacy head coach Craig Van Patten said after his team dropped to 10-9 overall and 3-5 in the FRL. “Tonight, we struggled early but then found ways to put the ball in the basket. We hit some key shots and had a chance at the end to take a shot to win it or tie.”
“We really came together as a team even through some rough patches, but we just weren’t able to capitalize on some chances that we needed to,” senior Olivia Zamora said. “But we worked hard and came to play in the fourth quarter. We played with passion.”
Coming off losses to Horizon and Fairview — two of the FRL’s best — Legacy had a chance to get back on track against the Lobos (10-9, 5-3) but fell into a trap of being severely out-rebounded, leading to several second chance opportunities for Rocky Mountain through the first two-and-a-half quarters.
Yet the Lightning created enough stops to where a late third quarter run of points made it just 35-32 for Rocky Mountain going to the fourth quarter after consecutive 3-pointers from Talia DePetrillo ended the frame.
Legacy started the final quarter with possession, but a Gabby McDonald steal and layup followed by a jump-stop transition shot from Mikayla Eccher put Rocky up again 39-32. The Lightning crept back into the game on several instances, but just couldn’t get over the hump.
With 4:32 left, Zamora hit a tough layup to make it 39-37 before seeing Rocky score six straight. By the 2:10 mark, it was 45-42 again after an aggressive baseline drive from Anya Carlson. And in the final minute, Legacy answered Rocky baskets three different times.
Zamora, who finished with seven points, made a layup with about 7 seconds left and the Lobos could not get a clean inbound play, giving LHS possession with 5.9 ticks to go. Isa Valenzuela, who caught fire with seven of her 11 points in the fourth, drove off the top of the key to right around the free-throw line to put up a shot, but it was contested and didn’t make the rim.
“We struggle with rebounds because we just don’t have big kids,” Van Patten said. “Their post (McDonald) was good, and she was strong. You just have to figure out how to overcome that. We gave up 11 offensive rebounds in the first half and I haven’t even looked at the second half. Just too many second and third opportunities.”
McDonald had a double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Rocky Mountain’s Savannah Warner pitched in 13 points and seven rebounds.
Legacy, which plays at Broomfield on Tuesday, got 10 points from DePetrillo and nine points from Sarah Liversedge.
“We have to stay positive,” Zamora said. “It’s empowering to have everyone cheering for each other, and the whole bench was great for us tonight.”
Rocky Mountain 51, Legacy 49
At Legacy HS
ROCKY MOUNTAIN (10-9, 5-3)
Martinez 1 0-0 2, Towne 2 1-2 6, Warner 4 5-6 13, Schlepp 1 0-0 2, McDonald 6 4-8 16, Eccher 3 0-0 6, Sinclair 0 0-0 0, Bennett 1 3-4 6. Totals 18 13-20 51.
LEGACY (10-9, 3-5)
DePetrillo 4 0-1 10, Keaser 0 0-0 0, Zamora 3 1-2 7, Liversedge 3 0-0 9, Ahadi 0 0-0 0, Valenzuela 3 3-4 11, Baum 2 2-2 6, Mackiewicz 1 0-0 2, Carlson 2 0-0 4. Totals 18 6-9 49.
Score by quarters:
Rocky Mountain 10131216—51
3-point field goals — Rocky Mountain (2): Towne, Bennett; Legacy (7): Liversedge 3, DePetrillo 2, Valenzuela 2. Technical fouls — Liversedge.