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Girls' basketball: Mesa Ridge turns focus to title game

By: Brent W. New preps@gazette.com
March 14, 2014 Updated: March 14, 2014 at 7:43 pm
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photo - .Mesa Ridge's Gabby Purnell (left) goes up for a shot past Pueblo South's Shannon Patterson in the semifinal game of the state 4A girls basketball championship game at the University of Colorado in Boulder on Thursday, March 13, 2014. Mesa Ridge will play in the 4A finals on Saturday in Boulder. They defeated Pueblo South 40-38. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett) (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett)
.Mesa Ridge's Gabby Purnell (left) goes up for a shot past Pueblo South's Shannon Patterson in the semifinal game of the state 4A girls basketball championship game at the University of Colorado in Boulder on Thursday, March 13, 2014. Mesa Ridge will play in the 4A finals on Saturday in Boulder. They defeated Pueblo South 40-38. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett) (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett) 

Dripping of chaos and confusion, and ending in stunning misery and absolute euphoria, the Mesa Ridge Miracle had it all.

Senior floor leader Gabby Purnell won't forget what looked like her last high school game before she played a role in the miracle and dished out the game-winning assist against Pueblo South in the 4A semifinals.

Neither will Kylee Shook, who started the final play when she stuffed Sissy Hall's jumper with 5 seconds remaining in a 38-38 game.

And neither will senior Tiffani Jackson, whose buzzer-beating layup against the defending champs will be a signature stamp on the Mesa Ridge girls' basketball program long after she's graduated.

But it's time to put it aside, Grizzlies coach Jeff Beatty said after the 40-38 victory that put his team into their first championship game.

"We have one more step," he said.

Saturday, Mesa Ridge (27-0) and tournament-favorite Broomfield (27-0), both No. 1 seeds, will square off for the 4A state title at the Coors Events Center at 1 p.m.

Purnell, Jackson, Sami Rudd, Mische' Hubbard, Venessanah Itugbu and the coach's daughter, Haily Beatty, hope to grab a win in their final game as Grizzlies.

Question is: Will it take another miracle to do so?

"No, I think we just have to do a lot better on the defensive side of the ball," Purnell said. "We know how good they are. This is when we need to play our best and take it."

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