GREELEY — An overtime loss in last year's quarterfinals was going to the be the stabilizing force for Briggsdale in 2018.
That loss drove the Falcons, who played with energy and ferocity in a 65-59 win over Holly in the Class 1A girls basketball tournament.
"We ended up losing in overtime and we didn't want that to happen again," senior Nikki Anderson said. "We were so determined to win this close game. We were so determined to go to the next round."
To get it done, they knew they had to do it on the defensive side. The Falcons came out in a 2-2-1 press, falling back into a 2-3 zone.
The teams came out of the first quarter tied at 11, but the Wildcats didn't look comfortable when having possession of the ball.
"Our zone is our best defense," Anderson said. "We work really well in it and we've been playing together since before we could freaking walk. We work really well with it and we trust each other."
Briggsdale grabbed some control in the second quarter, riding Skyla Miller's six points to take a 26-22 lead at the half.
As Holly began its effort to battle back, Kallie Cathcard put the team on her shoulders. She hit several jumpers to try and claw away at the Falcons lead.
She scored 16 over her team-high 20 points in the second half. That included a 3-pointer to give the Wildcats a brief 54-52 lead.
"She's an amazing player," Anderson said.
It was Anderson who responded right away to tie the game for the Falcons and Alliana Suppes gave them the lead right back. Holly continued to battle and a Josie Cook 3-pointer once again cut the Briggsdale lead to one.
But that would be the final point for the Wildcats. The Falcons got themselves to the free throw line with Suppes and Anderson each hitting a couple and its the Falcons who will move on to the semifinals.
(1) Kit Carson 73, (8) Bellview Christian 23
Tess Hournung and Micayla Isenbart combined to score 16 points in the first and clamped down defensively to put the top-seeded Wildcats into the semifinals.
(2) Kim/Branson 43, (7) Heritage Christian 31
Zariah Mason led all scorers with 10 points as Kim/Branson took care of business in its first-round game.
The Mustangs scored just three points in the first quarter but exploded for 21 in the second to take a 24-11 halftime lead over the Eagles.
Neither team was able to gain a clear advantage in the second half, but with a double-digit lead, the Mustangs were content sitting in cruise control.
Kennedy Hughes led the balanced Eagles scoring attack with seven points.
(4) Fleming 61, (5) North Park 46
Fleming stormed out to a 17-5 lead after the first quarter and appeared to have the game in hand, but North Park powered back and cut the lead to as few as four before halftime.
Alli Keisel scored eight of those 17 for Fleming, but only made one shot in the second quarter.
North Park got back into the game by connecting on long range shots. Kayla Jenkins, Darci Wintermote and Peyton Sanchez all connected on 3-pointers and and cut the Fleming lead to 27-23, forcing Fleming to take a timeout.
Fleming closed out the first half on a 4-0 run before starting the second on a 10-0 run to take a 18-point lead and cruise the rest of the way.