LOVELAND — Clear Creek is putting a new twist on an old adage.
If you go digging for gold, you just might find it.
Making its first ever state tournament appearance, the No. 7 Golddiggers girls’ basketball team advanced to the Class 2A championship game by knocking off No. 3 Wray 60-49 on Friday at the Budweiser Events Center.
Now the upstart program has a chance to dig for gold in the form of a state championship trophy on Saturday, where they’ll face Yuma, the 2016 champion and finalist in five of the past six seasons, at 7 p.m.
“It took years of hard work and dedication to get here,” Clear Creek senior Rachel Lucas said. “We have a solid group of seniors who have been playing together since like sixth grade. We’ve been working hard and pushing each other, and it’s always been the dream to be here.”
Lucas and fellow senior Grace Werlin were the key cogs in the Golddiggers’ hot start on Friday night, combining for 20 points in the first quarter alone. Lucas facilitated the offense for much of the night and finished with 16 points, while Werlin made her mark from deep with five 3-pointers (four of which game in that first quarter).
With that, Clear Creek held a 24-8 advantage after one and a 41-18 lead heading into the break. But then things got flipped upside-down.
Led by Maddie Soehner’s six points, Wray matched its entire first half output in a matter of eight minutes while limiting the Golddiggers to just four points in the third quarter. All of a sudden, it was a ballgame.
“Gotta hand it to Wray, they shut us down offensively in the third,” Clear Creek coach Marc Gorenstein said. “We just needed to play a little bit better defense. I think all tournament (as the No. 7 seed), these girls saw everything as an opportunity to prove themselves. And they did that.”
That call was met in the fourth as Lucas — just two years older than the high school she represents — and the Golddiggers made history.
“Just to think that we’re a part of something much bigger and making history, it’s just great,” Lucas said. “I’m just looking forward to playing with this team one last time.”
(1) Yuma 39, (5) Limon 28
For the Yuma girls basketball program, getting to the state tournament is just another stepping stone. The only real accomplishment from there is getting to the championship game, and ultimately hoisting that trophy.
Yuma has a chance to do just that after reaching the Class 2A girls title game for the fifth time in six years and first time since 2016 when it won its second state championship in program history.
Juniors Chasey Blach and Cody Robinson, both freshman the last time Yuma played for a title, led the way with 14 and 11 points respectively on Friday.
Robinson, who slowly pumped her fist as time wound down on a 39-28 win over No. 5-seed Limon, was thrilled to take the mantle and carry on the winning tradition after a third-place finish and rare title game absence.
“Making it to state is just what Yuma does, that’s what we’re known for,” Robinson said. “I think just living up to that is what we all want to do. We have so much more experience, and confidence-wise we are so much better than last year. It just feels great, I’m so excited.”