Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley
Sports@lhvc.com 

Girls Basketball: Season ends with loss to Northridge

 

February 23, 2018

Photo by Jocelyn Rowley Senior Mary Gillett (13) tangles with Northridge’s McKenna Cone in the season finale on Feb. 14.

The Niwot girls basketball team still had a tiny bit of control over their playoff destiny going into the season finale with Northridge on Feb. 14. After 50-42 loss to league-leading Centaurus two nights before, the Cougars actually gained ground in the RPI standings, and a win over the Grizzlies would only help boost it further. Depending on how the teams above them performed in the final days of the regular season, Niwot could still cling to hopes of sneaking into the 48th and final berth.

Sadly, those hopes were dashed when the Cougars came up short for the second time this season to the underrated Grizzlies. Better than their 4-19 record might suggest, Northridge dominated Niwot in the paint with their physical style of play, keeping the Cougar offense off-balance most of the night. With the high-scoring Sophie Grant out due to injury, Niwot managed just 12 points combined in the second and third periods, digging a hole the Cougars could not climb out of, even with a 10-2 run in the game’s last 90 seconds.

“It’s not that we don’t do a good job, we just physically have a hard time with them,” Niwot head coach Terri Ward said following the 46-41 loss, the team’s 14th of the year. “If the refs aren’t going to call a lot of fouls, then we have a hard time matching up. Sometimes there are teams in your league like that, and they’re ours this year.”

That wasn’t the case in the early going against the Grizzlies. After six quick points by senior Mary Gillett to open the game, Niwot’s offense seemed to be in control of the tempo. The Cougars held a slim 13-12 lead at the end of the first quarter, thanks to scoring from Gillett, senior Rosie Setter, and a three-pointer by sophomore Nikki Sims.

Northridge found its defensive footing in the second period, however, and the Cougars’ shots stopped falling after that. The Grizzlies were up by six going into the break, and Niwot players were clearly frustrated by the Grizzlies’ aggressiveness under the basket. That feelings was compounded by an officiating crew that wasn’t exactly forthcoming with foul calls on either side.

“I know when the refs aren’t calling it too much, sometimes you just have to take a different angle, and eventually you’ll get the call,” Gillett said. “I tried to keep going as much as I could, but I definitely got a little frazzled.”

Niwot gave as good as they got on defense in the third quarter, boosted by junior Elise Crall, who had a key steal and assist late in the quarter. Both teams perked up in the final period, scoring a combined 31 points. Northridge led by as much as 13 points late in the game, but Niwot refused to go easily. Led by Setter, the Cougars scored 10 points in the last 1:36, but it was too little too late, and Niwot will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

“We battled back,” Ward said. “We did what we needed to do and they made some mistakes, but it wasn’t quite enough.”

Gillett ended the night with 16 points and seven rebounds. She averaged a team-best 11.0 points per game for the season, and finished the year with a career-total 252 points. Setter (11) and Colvin (4) combined for 15 on the night, and had nine rebounds apiece.

Both Ward and her players were emotional following the tough loss, especially the team’s seven tight-knit seniors, who played their final game in a Niwot uniform.

“We’ve played together since freshman year, and it’s kind of weird now that it’s over,” Gillett said. “I loved playing with them.”

Niwot had more losses than wins for the second straight year, but Ward has trouble finding fault with her team’s effort this season, even if they did struggle down the stretch.

“They worked so hard,” Ward said. “When I have other teams’ parents asking me how do you get your kids to work so hard, how do you get so much out of a group that might not be so basketball talented, that to me is the best reward for a season.”

“The thing that’s the hardest is I don’t get to be with this group again,” Ward continued. “This is a crew that was tight, they liked each other, they got along well, and they were good at bringing other people into the mix. And I don’t get to see them now. I don’t get to spend every day with them like I did, and that’s the tough part.”

(2/12) — Centaurus 50, Niwot 42

Cougars (9-13, 5-8) 10 13 12 7 — 42

Warriors (18-3, 11-1) 13 12 15 10 — 50

Mary Gillett 8 4-10 20, Allie Colvin 2 0-0 5, Rosie Setter 3 2-4 8, Marlow Baines 1 0-1 2, Nikki Sims 1 0-0 3, Lily Sieben 1 0-0- 2, Sophie Storz 0 1-2 1, Jamie Lee 0 1-2 1; Totals 16 4-9 42.

3-point field goals — Colvin, Sims

Photo by Jocelyn Rowley Sophomore Marlow Baines (21) heads up court with the ball against Northridge on Feb. 14.

(2/14) — Northridge 46, Niwot 41

Grizzlies (4-19, 3-11) 12 13 6 15 — 46

Cougars (9-14, 5-9) 13 7 5 16 — 41

Mary Gillett 6 4-7 16, Allie Colvin 1 2-2 4, Rosie Setter 5 1-5 11, Marlow Baines 2 0-1 4, Nikki Sims 1 0-0 3, Lily Sieben 1 0-0-3; Totals 16 4-9 41.

3-point field goals — Sieben, Sims

 

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