• Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Broomfield's Steph Peterson drives in for a layup over Denver East's Kiana Thompson during Tuesday's Fairview Festival tournament game at FHS. Peterson scored 21 points to lead the Eagles to their fourth win of the season. Visit BoCoPreps.com for more photos.

  • Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Broomfield's Courtney Wristen puts up a shot Tuesday night against Denver East.



BOULDER — It’s a new era for Broomfield’s girls basketball program. And with a familiar face in charge, the good times of old might not be far behind.

The early stages of legendary coach Mike Croell’s return to the program is off to a promising beginning as the Eagles beat Denver East 48-42 on Tuesday night at the Fairview Festival for their fourth win in five games.

The coach came back to the program he stepped away from three seasons ago following a 20-year coaching stint, where he won six state titles and posted a 455-69 record.

To a new age of Broomfield players, his stature isn’t lost.

“It’s like a dream come true because all of us have lived in Broomfield our entire lives and watched him coach growing up,” senior guard Steph Peterson said. “To be able to play under him is such a blessing and we’re all working so much harder.”

Peterson scored 15 of her 21 points in the second half and the Eagles (4-1) went 19 of 26 from the line to hold off the Angels (0-1), who went to the Class 5A round of 16 a season ago. They’ll face Ralston Valley in the second round of the tournament on Thursday night.

Asked about being back, Croell smiled.

“I wouldn’t be back if the girls didn’t want me back,” he chuckled. “It was neat last year to have so many of them to come up and say, ‘Hey, come back’. And I was excited to come back. They’re a great group of kids.

“And it feels pretty normal, really.”

The coach switched from a man-to-man defense to a zone in the early goings Tuesday to slow down a speedy Denver East team, which jumped out to 8-2 lead. With it, the Eagles countered with an 11-2 run to end the quarter and went on a 9-0 run in the second to extend the advantage to 22-15 — a lead they never surrendered.

In the fourth, Broomfield led by as many as 10 but Denver East closed the deficit to four twice in the final minutes. The Angels came within 44-40 with 2:21 left but Courtney Wristen answered with a savvy lay-in around a defender. Then it was 46-42 with 1:23 left before the Eagles drained 1:11 off the clock and Peterson sealed it with a pair of free throws with 12 seconds remaining.

“It’s awesome to see how all the players were contributing,” said Wristen, who overcame two early fouls to score 13.

It’s win No. 4 for Broomfield — and it comes a month earlier than it did last year.

And while it’s still early — and Croell promised his team he wouldn’t compare it to his squads of old — the Eagles have a different edge about them.

“(We know) he took a risk coming back to our team,” Peterson said, “so we’re trying to make it worthwhile and show him he made the right choice.”

Brent W. New: bwnew@prairiemountainmedia.com and @brentwnew

Broomfield 48, Denver East 42

At Fairview HS

Denver East (0-1)

Nestor 0 1-2 1, Moses 0 0-0 0, Conner 0 0-3 0, Cleveland 4 0-0 12, Antwine 2 2-8 6, Holloway 2 0-2 6, Schulz 1 3-3 6, Proctor 3 1-1 7, Rollo 1 2-2 4, Robinson 0 0-0 0, Norris 0 0-0 0.

Broomfield (4-1)

Peterson 6 9-9 21, Keeler 0 0-0 0, Wristen 5 3-5 13, Wiggins 0 0-0 0, Putsch 0 0-0 0, Rich 0 0-0 0, Hoffman 2 2-2 7, Young 0 2-6 2, Abeyta 0 0-0 0, Felknor 0 0-0 0, Belton 0 0-0 0, Burgesser 1 3-4 5, Ventura 0 0-0 0.

Score by quarters:

Denver East (0-1)        10 9 11 12  — 42

Broomfield (4-1)          13 9 15 11  — 48

3-point field goals — Denver East (7): Cleveland 4, Holloway 2, Schulz 1; Broomfield (1): Hoffman. Total fouls — Denver East 20; Broomfield 13. Fouled out — Conner. Technical fouls — Holloway.