Berthoud Girls Basketball Tops Brush
By Dan Karpiel
Thanks to a 13-6 regular season and fourth place finish in the 3A Patriot League, the Berthoud High girls basketball team enjoyed a bye in the opening round of the district tournament. There was no rust for the Lady Spartans however as they topped the Brush Beetdiggers in a thrilling 47-44 victory in the BHS gym on Tuesday evening. With the victory, Berthoud will advance to play one seed Eaton in the championship semifinals on Thursday night at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.
The Lady Spartans battled back from a 15-7 deficit at the end of the first period, demonstrating their customary resiliency in the second half. Berthoud out-scored Brush 40-29 in the remaining twenty-four minutes of the game. The second and third periods were key for the Lady Spartans as they out-scored the Beetdiggers by a combined 11 points. “It would have been nice if we didn’t spot them ten points to begin with … but we fought our way back into the game,” Berthoud High Head Basketball Coach Randy Earl said after the game.
After trailing by double-figures for much of the first half, Berthoud found their groove and began to rally late in the second period. A pair of buckets from junior forward Dillon Fagler, another four points from senior point guard Megan McGinn and the first three-pointer of the game from senior Julia Perry got the Spartans to within two at the end of the first half.
As they began the third period, the Lady Spartans continued to build on the momentum they generated at the end of the first half. With 3:30 remaining in the third, Perry drained a three pointer to the give Berthoud their first lead of the game, 28-27. She went on to sink another trey on the Spartans’ next possession as Berthoud retained a 31-29 advantage. “It felt like we got on a roll after that,” Perry said of her back-to-back threes and added, “If any of us hits a three it just pumps everybody up.” When asked about Perry’s momentum changing three-pointers Coach Earl sounded anything but surprised saying, “Julia has been hitting those pretty regularly here in the last half of the season.”
Berthoud closed out the third period by using their opportunistic defense to score on fast breaks. Senior Danielle Wikre and Freshman Kendall Baker each snatched a steal and took the ball the length of the court for a layup and easy two points. By the end of the third period the Spartans found themselves standing on a close 35-32 lead.
The Spartans and Beetdiggers engaged in the defensive battle during the early part of the fourth period. After Perry sank one of two free-throws, Berthoud held a precarious 38-37 lead with only 3:26 remaining in the game. Brush senior Sarah Padilla sank one of her two three pointers of the period on the Beetdiggers’ next possession yet another basket from Perry tied the game at 40 at the 2:45 mark.
In the final minute of the game, the Spartans turned to their point guard and team leader Megan McGinn. The senior sank all six of the free throws she attempted as Berthoud maintained a slender lead in the game’s waning moments. With the Spartans up 41-40 at the 1:15 mark, McGinn sank two foul shots. After the Beetdiggers forced a turnover and tied the game at 43, McGinn drew a foul, made good on her free throws and gave the Spartans a 45-43 lead. She sank another pair of free-throws with only 0:02 remaining and in doing so clinched the 47-44 win for Berthoud.
“A free throw is a shot where no one is guarding you. If you can master that it’s just easy points,” McGinn said when asked about her clutch, late-game free throws. “Megan doesn’t hardly ever miss; even in practice she will be 24 of 25 shooting free-throws so she’s the one we want at the line,” Coach Earl said.
Perry led Berthoud in scoring on the night with 14. McGinn added 11 to go with her team-high six rebounds and Wikre tallied another eight. With the victory over Brush the Lady Spartans will advance to the district semifinals. On Thursday at UNC, Berthoud will face off against number one seeded Eaton at 7:30 p.m.
Despite five three-pointers and a game-high 19 points from Spartan sophomore Alex Santos, the Berthoud High boys basketball team lost 62-51 in their second game of the 3A Patriot League district tournament to the Valley Vikings. With the loss, Berthoud will move to the consolation bracket and will play in the consolation semifinals for a shot at fifth place. The Spartans will face the Platte Valley Broncos at 6:00pm at Highland High School in Ault.