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Girls basketball: Broomfield can’t finish in loss to Ralston Valley

Courtney Wristen had 16 points and 12 rebounds in the loss

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Broomfield High School's Jessica Hoffman (No. 22) shoots between Ralston Valley High School's Rachel Meeks (No. 3) and Saya Sabus (No. 2) at the Fairview Festival tournament in Boulder on Dec. 12, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Broomfield High School's Brooke Pennington (No. 5) shoots over Ralston Valley High School's Rachel Meeks (No. 3) at the Fairview Festival tournament in Boulder on Dec. 12, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Broomfield High School's Brooke Pennington (No. 5) looks to pass while covered by Ralston Valley High School's Saya Sabus (No. 2) at the Fairview Festival tournament in Boulder on Dec. 12, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Broomfield High School's Courtney Wristen (No. 10) and Lauren Felknor (No. 14) battle for a rebound with Ralston Valley High School's Brooklyn Seymour (No. 14) and McKenna Nichols (No. 12) at the Fairview Festival tournament in Boulder on Dec. 12, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Broomfield High School's Jessica Hoffman (No. 22) drives past Ralston Valley High School's Ellie Schweiker (No. 4) at the Fairview Festival tournament in Boulder on Dec. 12, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Broomfield High School's Courtney Wristen (No. 10) shoots over Ralston Valley High School's Brooklyn Seymour (No. 14) at the Fairview Festival tournament in Boulder on Dec. 12, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Broomfield High School's Jaylene Young (No. 23) shoots past Ralston Valley High School's Sydney Bevington (No. 33) at the Fairview Festival tournament in Boulder on Dec. 12, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Broomfield High School's Courtney Wristen (No. 10) collides with Ralston Valley High School's McKenna Nichols (No. 12) at the Fairview Festival tournament in Boulder on Dec. 12, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Broomfield High School's Lauren Felknor (No. 14) grabs a rebound next to Ralston Valley High School's Brooklyn Seymour (No. 14) at the Fairview Festival tournament in Boulder on Dec. 12, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Broomfield High School's Lauren Felknor (No. 14) looks to pass in the game against Ralston Valley High School at the Fairview Festival tournament in Boulder on Dec. 12, 2019.

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BOULDER — Strong starts dwindled into rocky finishes as the first two games at the Fairview Festival slipped away from Broomfield’s girls basketball team.

“The biggest thing is we got to get in better shape,” Eagles coach Mike Croell said Thursday after his team let a double-digit lead evaporate for the second time in three days at Fairview High School in a 37-33 loss to Ralston Valley.

This time, his team raced out to a 20-9 lead midway through the second quarter before falling into an offensive struggle.

The Mustangs, fifth in CHSAANow.com’s Class 5A ranking, responded with a 18-4 run to grab a lead late in the third. And then, they held the Eagles without a point in the final 4:39 to secure the win.

On Tuesday, Broomfield lost to Sierra 68-62 in the opening round of the tournament as a 16-point halftime lead went by the wayside.

“Our preseason was not great,” Croell said. “We had a lot of girls in and out of practice for any multitude of reasons. We’ve unfortunately spent a lot of time doing our best to get a lot of things in, instead of trying to get into shape. So, they’re going to have to get in shape on the fly unfortunately, because before Christmas we have more games than we have practice.”

Adding: “When we’re fresh, we’re dynamite.”

Courtney Wristen had 16 points and 12 rebounds for her third double-double in six games for the Eagles, who sit at 3-3 on the year.

Suddenly trailing, the 6-foot-2 junior snapped a scoring drought of 4:31 when she laid in the first of two baskets in the opening minute of the fourth. Brooke Pennington added another as the Eagles appeared to find life, leading 30-29 with 6:20 remaining.

Three Wristen free throws were all that came after that for Broomfield.

Sydney Bevington, who had nine of her 12 points following the break for the Mustangs, put them back in front with a layup at 5:22. Rachel Meeks’ two free throws with 23 seconds left then put things out of reach.

“We always start off so strong in the first half,” Wristen said. “Then after half, we let them come back. That’s not how we want to play.”

This is: Pennington and Jaylene Young hit consecutive 3s to close out the first and Wristen added another from deep early in the second as part of a 10-2 run that put the Eagles up 20-9.

The Mustangs answered with a 9-2 run over the last 3:50 of the half, including a quick four-point surge when Brooklyn Seymour put back a missed free throw off a 3-point-play attempt. They took their first lead with 2:30 left in the third.

“We’ve lost three games that a made shot here, a made shot there, a rebound here, a rebound there, a break there — and all three of them were winnable games,” Croell said. “But, hey, it is what it is. We are what our record says we are and that’s exactly what we got right now. We’re 3-3.”

Broomfield will play in the tournament’s seventh-place game Saturday afternoon.