BROOMFIELD — Broomfield standouts Steph Peterson and Courtney Wristen leapt for joy into a mosh of their teammates following Friday night’s signature victory over Fossil Ridge. They screamed, hopped around — off the court and into the locker room.
Heard it loud and clear.
Soon, too, will the rest of the Class 5A powers.
Peterson had 15 points and Wristen scored seven of her nine points with four fouls in the waning minutes of a tight fourth quarter, propelling the Eagles past one of the state’s sought-to-be title contenders, 48-45.
Fossil Ridge (17-3, 9-1 5A Front Range), coming into the week ranked fifth in the CHSAANow.com polls and third in RPI, won the past three meetings between the league rivals. Broomfield (18-3, 9-1), eighth in the poll and 10th in RPI, rallied from an early 11-point deficit — not to mention plenty of foul trouble — to cast themselves in a three-way tie atop the league with the Sabercats and Horizon.
Afterward, Broomfield coach Mike Croell said it’s a win his players would never forget. Senior Peterson, who signed with Cameron University on Wednesday, called it the best win of her high school career.
Added Wristen: “It’s like we just won the championship … but we’re just going to keep going from here, just keep going.”
Wristen came off the bench with four fouls in the fourth to hit a crucial 3-pointer — and a layup in traffic — to put the Eagles in front. The duo of Peterson and Wristen then went 4-for-4 from the line in the final minute before the Eagles made a series of scrappy defensive stands to kick off the postgame party.
“I told the girls the other day, you’ve accomplished a little, you’re winning games, but in the grand, big picture of it all we really haven’t accomplished anything,” Croell said. “Well, now they’ve accomplished something.”
This, a season-defining win for a program that had already seen drastic highs in Croell’s revitalizing, comeback tour, had a little bit of everything.
An emotional first half saw 30 free throws and 25 fouls, including a technical. Peterson and Wristen were on and off the bench with three fouls apiece before the break and Wristen picked up her fourth midway through the third.
Peterson — coming off a season-low, four-point outing in a win over Legacy — shook off a slow start and scored five straight in the second quarter to help the Eagles cut into a 25-14 deficit. Emma Rich, who was on the back end of fastbreak hoop led by Jaylene Young earlier on, then hit a 3 in the waning seconds of the half to pull within 27-24.
The Eagles took the lead after Wristen returned to the game in the fourth and hit a 3 with 5:02 remaining.
“Just to see her step up like that,” Peterson said, “it was awesome.”
Jessica Hoffman and Young also had crucial baskets in the final minutes and flew around on the defensive end. Both finished with six points.
The celebratory night comes with a dose of reality. Croell said he reminded his team it still has two games remaining in its regular season — at Poudre Tuesday and at Monarch on Valentine’s Day.
Still, this felt good.
“They’re growing up, they’re getting better,” Croell said. “That’s all we can ask for.”
Brent W. New: firstname.lastname@example.org and @brentwnew
Broomfield 48, Fossil Ridge 45
At Broomfield HS
FOSSIL RIDGE (17-3, 9-1)
Kohler 0 1-2 1, Tonn 2 2-4 6, Steffeck 3 4-6 12, Klein 0 0-0 0, Missimer 0 0-0 0, Novak 0 2-3 2, Kleine 2 0-0 4, Zwetzig 4 2-4 11, Osthoff 2 2-2 6, Hobbs 1 0-0 3, Traylor 0 0-0 0. Team 14 13-21 45.
BROOMFIELD (18-3, 9-1)
Peterson 3 8-10 15, Keeler 2 0-0 4, Wristen, 3 2-5 9, Graf 0 0-0 0, Putsch 0 0-0 0, Rich 2 0-0 5, Hoffman 2 2-4 6, Young 2 0-0 6, Abeyta 1 0-0 2, Pennington 0 0-0 0, Belton 0 0-0 0, Burgesser 0 1-2 1, Ventura 0 0-0 0, Felknor 0 0-0 0. Team 15 13-21 48.
Score by quarters:
Fossil Ridge 12 15 7 11 — 45
3-point field goals — Fossil Ridge (4): Steffeck 2, Zwetzig, Hobbs; Broomfield (5): Young 2, Peterson, Wristen, Rich. Total fouls — Fossil Ridge 21, Broomfield 17. Fouled out — Hobbs. Technical fouls — Peterson.