Montrose falls to Broomfield in state playoffs
DENVER — There was no doubt in the minds of the Montrose High School girls basketball team: The Indians were going to have to play a perfect game at the Denver Coliseum on Saturday to make it to the Final Four of the Class 4A state basketball playoffs.
Alas, that did not come to pass as Broomfield shook off a fourth-quarter rally by Montrose to win 51-41 and advance to Thursday’s semifinals at Boulder’s Coors Events Center.
Broomfield, a perennial power in 4A circles with five state titles in the past six years, made it tough for the Indians from the outset, jumping to a 10-0 lead.
“We understood that would be the worst-case scenario,” Montrose coach Eric Sanchez said.
But as they have done all years, the Indians (20-5) were undaunted by the early deficit.
“In previous games we’ve had (scoring) runs,” senior guard Kala Keltz said.
“That’s something they’ve done all year long,” Sanchez said.
Keltz picked up her second foul midway through the first quarter but didn’t alter her style.
“There’s nothing really you can change in a game like this,” she said. “You’ve got to leave it all on the court.”
The Indians made a run midway through the second quarter to cut an 11-point deficit to six points, but they were scoreless in the final 3:34 of the second quarter as the Eagles boosted their lead to 27-18 at the half.
Another scoring spurt moved Montrose to within 31-26 halfway through the third quarter.
“That’s the group we have,” Sanchez said. “They play hard.”
But, as in the second quarter, a turnover halted the momentum.
“That was the bugaboo tonight,” Sanchez said of turning the ball over against a quality team. “We needed a quality possession (to get over the hump) and didn’t get it.”
Down by 11 points early in the fourth, Montrose forced two bad shots and a turnover and, with Keltz hitting a 3-pointer and Tess Skoe scoring on a driving layup, Montrose suddenly found itself within one basket, trailing 41-38 with slightly more than five minutes remaining.
Then the Eagles did something they hadn’t done well all game: They hit their free throws.
After making only seven of 13 attempts through the first three quarters, Broomfield converted 10 straight free throws to seal the game.
Sanchez praised his team’s effort.
“We understood numbers,” he said of playing against a No. 1 seed. “I’m just proud we didn’t quit. We made (Broomfield) win this game.
“(If) you look at all the teams in the Great Eight, it’s hard to find flaws in them, and that’s what makes it a fun experience.”
Four seniors, including Keltz, played their final game in a Montrose uniform.
“I’m going to remember the team chemistry,” she said of what she’ll take from her experience as an Indians hoops player. “I couldn’t have asked for better teammates.”