BOULDER -- In the end, the Broomfield Eagles showed that they were every bit as good as their 26-0 record indicated.
Broomfield cruised past the Valor Christian Eagles 67-46 Thursday night in the 4A girls basketball state semifinals to earn a match-up with the Mesa Ridge Grizzlies on Saturday.
Valor came out firing on all cylinders in the first quarter, limiting Broomfield’s leading scorer Brenna Chase without a field goal in the period. Trailing by seven with seconds remaining in the quarter, Valor sophomore guard Madison McCoy drained a 3-pointer to pull her team to within four.
But Broomfield soon hit their offensive stride, and also turned up the defensive pressure to build a 15-point lead going into halftime, which allowed them to control the tempo of the game through most of the second half.
“We were going to put that little spurt together at some point,” coach Mike Corell said. “We had them a couple of times in the first half and then we gave up a couple of threes and let them back into it, but it’s a good group of kids and they’re happy to be (in the state championship game) but they also realize our job is not done yet.”
Junior Nichole Lehrer led all scorers with 19 points, tying her career high. She finished shooting 100 percent from the field in what was arguably the best game of high school career. Her effort will give her team another shot at a state championship, something they had in their grasp last year before falling to Pueblo South in the semifinals.
Getting to the state title game was always the goal for Broomfield, but they’re not allowing themselves to enjoy it quite yet. The players are treating their quest for a state championship as a job and until they’re able to hoist that trophy, they won’t let themselves punch out.
“That Pueblo South game from last year has been in the back of everyone’s mind so we knew that no matter what happened we had to go out and play as hard as we could because it could be our last game,” Lehrer said. “Everyone on this team contributes just as much as everybody. There’s not one person that this team is about, it’s about the whole team.”
Broomfield started the second half on a small run, before Valor was able to come alive and close the gap to 11. But that’s as close as Broomfield would allow Valor to get. They went on a big run themselves to increase the lead to 20 points in the third quarter, all but assuring their return to the Coors Events Center Saturday afternoon.
They are now tasked with facing off against a team widely regarded to be every bit as tough as them in the Grizzlies. What the Eagles have in scoring ability in their back court, they lack in size when compared to Mesa Ridge.
“We scrimmaged them at the beginning of the year and we’ve seen them play the last two weeks,” Croell said. “They’re certainly a lot taller than us, but that’s alright. There’s really not anybody that we’ve played this year that isn’t taller than us.”
This will also be the last time Broomfield will play in the 4A state title game as they move into the 5A classification for the 2014-15 year. The Eagles won five consecutive state championships from 2007-11 and again played in the championship game last year.
“(The players) don’t even think about it,” Croell said. “Every once in a while it starts coming up and they just blow it off and try to worry about this season first.”
The Eagles and Grizzlies will tip-off in the 4A state championship game at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Coors Events Center.