Dakota Ridge girls basketball charges back versus rival Chatfield

LITTLETON — Dakota Ridge sophomore Alexis Thornton’s 3-point shots looked like beautiful rainbows falling from the rafters to the eyes of Eagles’ girls basketball fans Friday night.

“I was just praying that they all go in,” Thornton said of her making a trio of 3-pointers on her way to a season-high 16 points. “I think that really got the team some energy and got us riled up.”

Dakota Ridge junior Taylor Legault (12) goes up for a shot over Chatfield senior Emma Talbot on Friday night. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Thornton’s biggest 3-pointer came with 6:15 left in the fourth quarter. Her final basket gave Dakota Ridge its first lead of the night against rival Chatfield. The Eagles grabbed it third straight Class 5A Jeffco League victory with an eventual 67-59 win on the road.

“I told the girls to keep chipping away and once we get the lead we won’t lose it,” Dakota Ridge coach Diane Thompson said.

That is exactly what happened. The Eagles had a 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter that ended with their biggest lead of the night at 60-52. Junior Emily Doolittle put an exclamation point on the come-from-behind win with a 3-pointer with 2:30 left.

“It meant a ton,” Dakota Ridge senior Sydney Daniels said of pulling off a win in likely her last game against rival Chatfield. “It was so cool to see everyone rally as a team. It was a big team win for us.”

Daniels finished with 15 points, including going 9-for-10 from the free-throw line. She also kept from Dakota Ridge from falling too far behind in the opening quarter. The senior’s three field goals all came in the open quarter where Chatfield scored 27 points.

Chatfield senior Tedy Reed (23) is guarded by Dakota Ridge sophomore Alexis Thornton on Friday night. Reed scored a game-high 18 points, but it wasn't enough as the Eagles took the road victory. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

All five starters scored in the first quarter for the Chargers (12-6, 2-3 in 5A Jeffco). Chatfield’s sister combo of Emma and Grace Talbot combined for 17 points in the first quarter. Senior Tedy Reed, who recently went over 1,000 points for her prep career, poured in a game-high 18 points.

“At that point you have nothing to lose,” Thompson said of the Eagles facing a 13-point deficit less than three minutes into the game. “Chatfield was hot early. They threw everything in.”

Dakota Ridge (11-7, 3-1) went on a key 9-0 run to start the second quarter to cut the deficit to single digits. How the Eagles’ defense begin in final quarter was big too. Chatfield was scoreless in the fourth quarter until Grace Talbot scored with 2:15 left in the game.

“We threw a lot of defenses at them. We had some grit. That is all I can say,” Thompson said of the defensive turnaround. “The girls didn’t lose hope.”

The Eagles have three straight conference wins under their belt after suffering a tough 1-point loss to Lakewood to open league play. The goal is pretty straight forward now. Dakota Ridge is planning on winning its final five regular-season games over the next two weeks.

Chatfield sophomore Madison Shepard (33) tries to squeeze past Dakota Ridge senior Maggie Hawley during the second half Friday night. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“People underestimate us a lot,” Thornton said. “Our goal is to win league this year. We’ve worked so hard. People overlook us, so that makes us fight harder.”

Everything is in front for the Eagles. They get a shot against league-leading and No. 6 ranked Valor Christian, along with No. 8 Ralston Valley left in conference play.

Before finishing off league play Dakota Ridge hits the road Saturday to face Legacy. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.

“We are taking one game at a time. Tomorrow is Legacy so we are focusing on that one,” Daniels said. “We definitely want to get to five more wins.”

Dakota Ridge's Maggie Hawley (2) and Emily Doolittle (11) battles with Chatfield senior Emma Talbot (3) for a rebound during the Class 5A Jeffco League game. The Chargers opened up an early 15-2 lead, but the Eagles soared back with an eventual 67-59 victory. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)