BERTHOUD — Even with a playoff berth already locked up, the Erie Tigers girls basketball team had plenty of motivation for their regular-season finale against Berthoud on Saturday.
It was a year ago to the day that the Spartans eliminated the Tigers from the playoffs in the Great 8 round of last year’s Class 4A playoffs in the Berthoud gym.
At the scene of that loss, the Tigers hadn’t forgotten and held off the Spartans for a 69-61 victory as both teams head to the postseason likely to get spots in the 32-team field.
“For me, personally, this was a big game,” Erie senior Genevieve Gudino said. “I feel that last year, we could have gone farther. It was a disappointing loss so we wanted to come back and prove a statement.”
Gudino scored 13 of her 21 points in the first quarter as the Tigers (11-3) came out hot offensively, outscoring the Spartans by 15 points for a 27-12 lead.
Erie made six 3-pointers in the period, four by Gudino. Berthoud (8-6) countered with three from long distance, but went into the second quarter in a hole.
“It was great,” Erie head coach Chris Walls said. “Genevieve came out and did what a senior is supposed to do. Her last regular season game, she came out and took charge and knocked down some threes and set the tone for us.”
Over the second and third quarters, the Spartans battled back. They outscored the Tigers 24-15 in the second period and trailed just 42-36 at halftime.
Junior Ally Padilla scored nine of the Spartans’ two dozen points and carried her hot shooting into the third quarter. She scored seven straight points early in the period that cut the Erie lead to two points at 45-43. Padilla finished with 19 points to lead the Spartans.
Senior Bre Fowler tied the game at 45 for the Spartans with 2:29 left in the third quarter and junior Anndee Davison gave Berthoud its first lead of the game at 47-45 with 1:51 to go in the period.
After a 3-pointer by Davidson gave the Spartans their largest lead of the game at 50-47, Erie scored the final five points of the third to take a 52-50 lead into the final frame.
“We had a couple of breakdowns, but we adjusted our zone defense a little bit and it made a difference,” Walls said. “We started rotating a little better and communicating a little better and it turned the tide and we withstood their push long enough to make our push again in the fourth.”
The Tigers never let the Spartans take the lead again, although the game was briefly tied at 56. From there, Erie closed the game with a 13-5 run.
Junior Grace Moyers added 18 points for the Tigers, including three free throws in the final minute to ice the game. Fowler added 14 for the Spartans and Davidson had 11.
The victory has the Tigers feeling good going into the playoffs.
“We have a couple of things that we really need to work on, our defense is a big thing,” Gudino said. “We let a lot of shots go up that we didn’t want to but we are working to do better. I think we are going to go pretty far this year.”