Area teams advance in girls basketball playoffs


First- and second-round games in the Class 4A and 5A girls state basketball playoffs were completed and five south metro-area teams advanced to the Sweet 16.

In Class 5A, Highlands Ranch, Castle View, Arapahoe and Cherry Creek made the Feb. 28 Sweet 16 games. Meanwhile in 4A, defending state champion Valor Christian moved into the third round of the playoffs, also on Feb. 28.

Winners of Sweet 16 games advanced to the Great 8, which will be held March 3 at the Denver Coliseum for Class 5A teams. Higher-seeded teams will host Class 4A Great 8 contests on March 3.

First-round games

  • ThunderRidge 47, Overland 30: The defending state champion Grizzlies outscored the Trailblazers 30-16 in the second quarter to pull out the victory. Junior Mia Needles made four 3-pointers for ThunderRidge and paced all scorers with 13 points.
  • Mountain Vista 55, Arvada West 40: Vista sprinted to a 15-point lead at halftime and freshman Makenzie Gamble paced the offense for the Golden Eagles with a game-high 23 points.
  • Chaparral 78, Mountain Range 29: The Wolverines led 38-11 at halftime and cruised to victory. Senior Reagan Chiaverini connected on nine 3-pointers and finished with 33 points for Chaparral.
  • Fort Collins 37, Legend 19: After a close first quarter, the Lambkins held the Titans to only 10 points in the final three periods to end Legend's season.
  • Rampart 52, Heritage 38: Junior Collette Schmuhl had 15 points in the Eagles' loss to Rampart.
  • Littleton 43, Elizabeth 31: Junior Katie Puchino scored 11 points and Rebekah Sandstrom pulled down 15 rebounds in the Lions' Class 4A victory.
  • Falcon 53, Ponderosa 43: The Mustangs couldn't overcome a 10-point deficit heading in the fourth quarter of the 4A playoff game and ended the season with an 11-13 record, which was the most wins in seven seasons for Ponderosa.

Second-round games

  • Highlands Ranch 83, ThunderRidge 38: Four players scored in double figures as the top-seeded Falcons downed the Grizzlies in a rematch of last season's 5A championship game.
  • Arapahoe 49, Chaparral 42: Madelyn Matthews scored 29 points as a strong fourth quarter ensured the No. 15 seed Warriors a win. Reagan Chiaverini topped the Wolverines with 15 points.
  • Castle View 46, Rocky Mountain 44: The Sabercats, seeded No. 16, won a nip-and-tuck game against the Lobos to advance into the Sweet 16.
  • Cherry Creek 68, Mountain Vista 37: Jaela Richardson and Delaney Bernard each scored 15 points as the Bruins, seeded 12th, outscored the Golden Eagles 60-24 in the final three quarters. Sydney Trichler paced the Golden Eagles with 11 points.
  • Pueblo South 43, Littleton 34: Katie Puchino led the Lions with 12 points but the top-seeded Colts used a 19-point outburst in the second quarter to get the win.
  • Valor Christian 55, Palmer Ridge 45: Tess Boade led three double figure scorers with 15 points as the sixth seeded Eagles notched a win over the Bears.

Class 3A

Defending state champion Lutheran, seeded No. 15, will travel to Centauri to play Grand Valley in the first round of the 32-team Class 3A state tournament on March 3. The Lions were third in the Metro District tournament, beating Jefferson Academy, 70-28, dropping a 50-49 double overtime game to Colorado Academy and then edging Kent Denver 51-46 in the third-place game.


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