DENVER — The Lamar girls saved their best surprise for after the game on Thursday night, running to the bench and grabbing a few makeshift signs to celebrate coach Erik Melgoza’s 200th win.
Besides that, the Savages stuck to their routine.
Sophomore Cali Clark had 16 points and 18 rebounds and No. 10 Lamar’s defense dazzled in a 42-33 win over No. 2 Pagosa Springs in the Class 3A girls basketball state quarterfinals.
The Savages are back in the semifinals for a second straight season thanks to their gritty, no-nonsense style of play. One more win, and they will return to the state title game in hopes of a repeat.
“Defense wins basketball games,” Melgoza said. “So that’s what we do. We play good defense.”
Baillie Kee and Alexa Comstock each added eight points for the Lamar (21-4), which held Pagosa Springs (20-4) to 38 percent shooting and won the rebound margin 40-21.
Even more dominant, the Savages held the Pirates scoreless for 10 minutes and 3 seconds as they built a 26-17 lead late into the third quarter.
“They are not the 10 seed,” Pagosa Springs coach Wes Lewis said. “You ask any coach in the state to say it with a straight face. ... That is a really good team.”
Morgan Lewis scored 17 and Devin Wilson added 10 points for the Pirates. Fighting back from an 11-point deficit with 4 minutes remaining, the two hit consecutive 3s to close the margin to 38-33 with 1:45 left.
The Savages, though, countered with the last four points. Clark capped it off, hurling a pass three-quarters of the court to Comstock for an easy layup in the waning seconds.
Lamar, which has held opponents to 25.5 points per game this year, will face hot-shooting St. Mary’s in the semifinals Friday.
“This year is different than last year because we have the same personnel,” Kee said. “But it’s the same concept. Everyone has to be locked in all the time.”
The Savages used a 15-8 run in the first half to go up 19-13 midway through the second. Pagosa Springs closed it to 19-17 late in the quarter before Lamar’s D squeezed shut.
(8) Moffat County 44, (1) Kent Denver 32
Brooke Gumber had 12 points and 14 rebounds, Jana Camilletti also had 12 points and the Bulldogs (20-5) upset the No. 1 Sun Devils (21-4).
Moffat County outscored Kent Denver 25-2 in the first half and then held on to punch its ticket to the semifinals.
Julia Doyle led the Sun Devils with 11 points.
(4) Colorado Springs Christian 52, (5) Centauri 37
Megan Engesser scored 16 and Rachel Ingram added 14 points as the Lions (22-3) moved on to the semifinals for the second straight year.
Melissa Wilson led the Falcons (21-3) with 13 points and Ember Canty had 18 rebounds.
CSCS scored 21 points off turnovers and led 43-22 after three quarters.
(3) St. Mary’s 64, (6) Cedaredge 33
Makenna Bodette had 22 points and 13 rebounds, and the Pirates (24-1) outscored the Bruins 22-1 in the opening quarter in a runaway victory.
Josephine Howery had 13 points and Catherine Cummings scored 11 off the bench for St. Mary’s.
Courtney Freeman had eight points for Cedaredge (21-4) and Grace Andrews added seven.