Published: March 9, 2014
DENVER - Palmer Ridge, a team trademarked by airtight defensive play, simply had no answer for Broomfield, the state's highest-scoring 4A team.
The No. 1 Eagles remained undefeated by scoring almost at will in Saturday's final 4A state quarterfinal game at the Denver Coliseum, gradually pulling away from the No. 3 Bears 74-51 to advance to the semifinals.
"I kept looking up at the scoreboard, and I said, 'How the hell did we get down by so much?'" Palmer Ridge coach Dennis Coates said. "We battled, and I don't think we played that badly on defense. They slash to the basket and are just so tough to stop."
Brenna Chase led five scorers in double digits with 19 points for Broomfield (26-0), which will meet Valor Christian (22-3) in one of Thursday's semifinals at the Coors Events Center in Boulder.
The Eagles shot 63.6 percent from the field as they gradually pulled away after leading 37-28 at halftime.
Palmer Ridge (22-4), making its deepest playoff journey in school history, early on looked like a team not quite ready for prime time. The Bears turned the ball over six times in their first seven possessions, spotting the Eagles a 9-0 lead.
Just as quickly, the Bears proved they belonged, surging to a 14-13 lead on Carley Campbell's layup with 2:02 left in the first quarter.
It didn't last.
Broomfield responded with an 8-0 run, then went on an 11-2 run later in the half to open up a 37-25 lead.
A 15-6 run to start the second half lengthened the advantage to 52-34 after a Chase 3-pointer with 3:02 left in the third quarter.
"There were about three or four times in the first half where I thought they could have wilted," Coates said. "To their credit, they didn't and battled back. It's never easy to lose, but sometimes, you just admit you weren't the best team."
Bri Wilbur (18), Nichole Lehrer (15), and Brenna Fankell and Callie Kaiser (10) also hit double figures for Broomfield.
Ali Meyer led Palmer Ridge with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
"We tried to stay with them, and I think we played great at times," said Bears guard Rhyley Lane, one of five seniors. "I don't have any regrets. It was a great experience to have made it this far."