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Girls basketball: Broomfield suffers road loss at Fossil Ridge in pivotal FRL game

Sabercats seize control of league with one week to go in regular season

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Broomfield's Jaylene Young, left, tries to go up for a shot while being defended by Fossil Ridge's Lauren Zwetzig during their game on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 in Fort Collins.

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Broomfield's Emma Rich, center, takes a shot from outside during their game against Fossil Ridge on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 in Fort Collins.

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Broomfield's Emma Rich, right, watches the flight of the basketball after a shot against Fossil Ridge on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 in Fort Collins.

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Broomfield's Jessica Hoffman squares up to shoot the ball during a Front Range League game against Fossil Ridge on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 in Fort Collins.

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Broomfield's Jessica Hoffman, center, goes for a layup against Fossil Ridge on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 in Fort Collins

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FORT COLLINS – The Broomfield girls basketball team didn’t have its A-game on Friday night, which was poor timing considering that the evening’s game against Fossil Ridge was the Eagles’ best chance to lock up their first outright Front Range League title since 2015-16.

Facing the same program with which Broomfield tied for the conference championship – in a three-way tie along with Horizon – last winter, the Eagles fell 58-47 on the road. Both teams entered Friday’s game with unblemished conference marks but with the win, the Fossil Ridge Sabercats (17-3, 10-0) relegated the Eagles (15-6, 9-1) to the passenger seat with just a few games left in the 2019-20 regular season.

“I mean, we were right there most of the game,” Eagles head coach Mike Croell said. “When you come on the road, you know you’re going to get some things that are not going to go your way. We played through it most of the night but it seemed like every time we got it down to three or down to one, then bang, bang, bang, you look back up at the scoreboard and it’s back up to six.

“Actually, it kind of amazed me how we played as well as we did with the kind of foul trouble we had.”

The Eagles fell behind quickly in the opening minutes but were only down 23-22 at halftime. Trailing by three to start the fourth quarter, the Eagles were just a basket or two away from tying the game before Fossil Ridge pulled away in the final four minutes. The Sabercats’ close-out run was paced by some hot shooting and solid rebounding, aided by the fact Broomfield’s 6-foot-2 junior forward Courtney Wristen fouled out with 4 minutes, 23 seconds left.

Senior guard Jessica Hoffman hit four 3-pointers to lead Broomfield with 15 points and junior Jaylene Young scored 13. Fossil Ridge senior Lauren Zwetzig led the Sabercats with 15 points, Sophia Hadad scored 13 and Allison Osthoff had 12.

If Fossil Ridge loses to Fairview (12-7, 7-2) on the road Tuesday night, Broomfield will still at least share the league title. But the Eagles themselves have a pair of regular-season games left on the schedule against Poudre and Monarch, and know they have to take care of their own business. After all, the Eagles entered Friday night’s game at No. 14 in the Class 5A RPI standings and still have a shot at a first-round bye in the state tournament.

“We can’t let this loss lose next week’s two games for us,” Croell said. “We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do, and that’s win two games next week. We’ve got to figure out ways to be tough down the stretch here because we’re going to be in more of these type of games.”