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Girls basketball: Hefner’s heroics help Erie earn split of Tri-Valley series with Holy Family

Game-winner for Erie junior comes with just seconds left

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Teammates celebrate with Erie's Anna Hefner, center, after Hefner made the eventual game-winning basket against Holy Family on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 in Broomfield.

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Erie's Alyssa Barnett, left, looks to make a play against Holy Family on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 in Broomfield.

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Holy Family's Alyssa Wells, left, eyes the basket as Erie's Grace Moyers defends during their Tri-Valley League game played in Broomfield on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020.

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Erie's Deb Altshuler, right, goes up for a shot against Holy Family on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 in Broomfield

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Erie's Deb Altshuler, center, falls back on a fading jump shot between Holy Family's Tyler Whitlock, right, and Cecelia Aanerud during their game played in Broomfield on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020.

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Erie's Genevieve Gudino, left and Ava Welty, top, battle for the basketball with Holy Family's Tyler Whitlock during their Tri-Valley League game played at Holy Family on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020.

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Grace Moyers of Erie drives down the court with the basketball during a Tri-Valley League game against Holy Family on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 in Broomfield.

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Holy Family's Cecelia Aanerud, center, drives toward the basket while Erie's Anna Hefner defends on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 in Broomfield.

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Holy Family's Tyler Whitlock lines for a shot against Erie on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 in Broomfield.

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BROOMFIELD — When the 2019-20 girls basketball season arrived, this winter’s Tri-Valley League race figured to play out like a tempestuous battle between three primary contenders in Holy Family, Erie and Berthoud.

Those three teams have now fought their way into February and have reached the eye of the Tri-Valley League storm this week in the form of a veritable round-robin between them.

The Erie girls traveled to kick that decisive three-way series off against Holy Family on Tuesday, and closed the distance between them and the two leaders they are currently chasing with a 52-50 victory.

At the end of a wire-to-wire game, it took a big post basket from Erie junior Anna Hefner with seconds left on the clock to land Erie its first win over Holy Family since Holy Family joined the Tri-Valley League in 2014.

“It was just a mental thing for me to make that shot,” Hefner said. “I knew it was in me to make that shot but I just had to tell myself mentally that I could finish this and it was my time. This whole game was something we had to prepare for mentally and we came in ready, diving on the floor for balls and doing whatever it took to win and we got it done.”

Ranked No. 6 in Class 4A by the CHSAANow.com coaches poll, Holy Family (14-5, 11-1) had won a dozen straight games prior to Tuesday, and had beaten Erie (15-2, 9-2) in the last 11 meetings between the two teams according to MaxPreps’ database. Class 4A’s seventh-ranked club, Erie has now won seven straight since losing back-to-back games to Holy Family and No. 5-ranked Berthoud in mid-January.

Erie had to win Tuesday’s game to remain in the hunt for the league title with Berthoud (18-1, 11-1) scheduled as the next opponent for both Erie and Holy Family.

“It’s a huge win for our program and we believed in ourselves, and that we were an even match,” Erie head coach Sarah Pfeifer said. “The way that the schedule plays out, we play them both back-to-back and Holy Family and Berthoud are two of the best teams in the state. We’re inching our way up, trying to be at their level and it’s an exciting challenge for us.”

Holy Family led 30-27 at halftime and 41-40 to start the fourth quarter. Erie junior Genevieve Gudino hit a 3-pointer to give her team a 43-41 lead with 7 minutes, 4 seconds left in the game before fouling out on Holy Family’s next possession. The shot sparked a 8-1 run and Erie led by as many as six points before Holy Family’s Tyler Whitlock scored six straight Holy Family points and Alyssa Wells, who hit four 3-pointers and scored a game-high 19 points, hit a long jump shot to tie the game, 50-50.

Erie inbounded the ball under the Holy Family basket with 14.3 seconds left and Hefner, who scored nine of her team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter, scored the go-ahead basket.

“You know, you win twelve straight, you’re going to have a slip,” Holy Family head coach Ron Rossi said. “We know what next Tuesday means. It means we can take hold of first place because we still have a game ahead of them. Now we’re tied with Berthoud and Erie’s back one so if Erie can win Friday night, now we’ve got a three-way tie.”

Erie will face the Berthoud at home on Friday and Holy Family will play the Spartans on the road next Tuesday.