Girls basketball: Broomfield runs past Douglas County

Eagles get needed win in playoff push

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BROOMFIELD — The Broomfield girls basketball team was sitting right on the bubble leading into the final week of the regular season. That meant they needed to be as perfect as possible in their last two games to ensure they’ll go dancing in the Class 5A state tournament.

Monday night’s 51-31 home victory over Douglas County was a step in the right direction.

Prior to their matchup against the Huskies, the Eagles (7-6, 6-3 Front Range League) were living on the edge, ranked 30th according to CHSAA’s RPI system. Only the top 32 teams make it into the tourney this season. The Eagles have little room for error with Pine Creek (6-4) and Eaglecrest (7-4) right on their tail.

“I think we’re going to get in, it’s just the more wins you get, hopefully the higher up the totem pole we get,” head coach Mike Croell said. “We need to just keep getting better as a team and hopefully keep peaking.”

All season long, the Eagles have battled an ever-changing roster due to injury and other circumstances. They found their mojo against the Huskies as a number of subs got to see some action, a luxury they didn’t have in several games this year.

Senior superstar power forward Courtney Wristen has paced Broomfield all year with a double-double average, posting 15.5 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. She ranked second in league scoring with those marks, and that trend followed through on Monday as she led the Eagles with 20 points and seven rebounds. She now boasts 1,077 career points.

Sophomore guard Sophie Christopher, surely a shining beacon for the Eagles in the future, complemented Wristen’s efforts with 13 points.

“Our confidence level is getting up there,” Wristen said. “I think starting off the season with 0-3, this is a good lead for us going into playoffs. I think all of us are starting to work well together and starting to know our roles on the team. I think that’s what’s going to really help us in the playoffs.”

Wristen took the offensive reins for most of the first half and Christopher won the supporting role. By halftime, the Eagles worked up a 33-15 advantage as they tired the Huskies out with full-court pressure and an even tighter defense near the post. Douglas County couldn’t find good shot selection in those conditions.

Turnover after Husky turnover helped Broomfield solidify its lead in the final two frames. Try as it might, Douglas County couldn’t gain an inch on their formidable hosts.

“We try to put a lot of pressure on the teams and really get after them,” Christopher said. “I think the pressure gets in their head. We have a lot of energy and it helps us.”

The Eagles head into their final regular season matchup with a little more confidence to carry them, hopefully into the postseason. They host Fort Collins, who barely trails Broomfield in the RPI rankings at 37th, on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

“I think the girls understand that every game is very important at this point for seeding and everything else,” Croell emphasized. “I told them, ‘Let’s not get swept by the town of Fort Collins because we’ve lost to the other three up there.’”