COLORADO SPRINGS — In a game that is sure to shake up the Class 3A girls basketball rankings, the fifth-ranked St. Mary's Pirates got a huge 47-40 win over No. 2 Manitou Springs Friday night.
With the win, the Pirates (16-0 overall, 8-0 3A Tri-Peaks) now have sole control over the Tri-Peaks League with two league games remaining on their schedule.
"This was a great game just to let us know that we're capable of playing with great teams like Manitou," Pirates guard Maggie Hartman said. "They're a very good team and it was a great challenge for us. We enjoyed it."
The teams were locked in a tight game from the get go as Gala Jensen started things off with a quick basket for the Mustangs (14-2, 7-1). It seemed the junior forward, who averages 16 points per game, was going to be in for a big night, but foul trouble took her out of rhythm and she wouldn't score another basket until the fourth quarter.
The Pirates would go on a 7-0 run before the Mustangs could get point guard Shelby Megyeri involved. Seven of her 13 points on the night came in the first quarter as she pulled the Mustangs to within one point at 10-9.
"We knew Shelby could shoot, she hit about six threes on us last year," Pirates coach Mike Burkett said. "She does so many things for them and she has such a diversified game."
The Pirates padded their lead in the second quarter by going on a 12-2 run. The Mustangs finally got some life when Megyeri was able to sink a bucket and knock down two free throws on the next possession to cut the Pirates' lead to 22-15 at halftime.
The biggest problem for the Mustangs was the inability to get bodies underneath the basket for rebounds. And even if they were there, the ball always seemed to bounce into the waiting hands of St. Mary's.
"We worked hard on defense and we just didn't reward ourselves with a box-out," Manitou coach Jon Asp said.
As the second half carried on, the Mustangs fell more and more out of sync. Toward the end of the third quarter, Megyeri penetrated toward the basket before trying to pass the ball to forward Brooke Garretson who was expecting the ball to be shot. Asp decided that the communication wasn't working with the personnel on the court and opted remove Garretson from the game.
But by then, he was ready to send Jensen back in, which gave the Mustangs a huge boost. Trailing by 10 early in the fourth quarter, the Mustangs finally began to hit some much needed shots.
A 3-pointer from McKenzi Petricko followed by a basket with a foul shot from Jensen cut the St. Mary's lead to four points. The Pirates would once again build it up to seven before Petricko knocked down another three to once again make it a four-point game. But that's as close as the Mustangs would get.
Hartman made her way to the foul line eight times in the fourth quarter and made all but one of them. She finished with a game-high 20 points to give the Pirates the upset on their home floor.
"You have to take advantage of the home wins," Burkett said. "(Manitou) is a great team. They beat us last year on a buzzer beater and it was two evenly matched teams."