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St. Mary’s to face area rival Colorado Springs Christian School in 3A girls basketball championship

By: Lindsey Smith, The Gazette
March 9, 2018 Updated: March 10, 2018 at 1:45 pm
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The 3A girls’ basketball state championship game will prove to be the ultimate tiebreaker between two of the area’s best teams.

For the third time this year, St. Mary’s and Colorado Springs Christian girls will battle - but this time it’s for all the marbles.

No. 3 St. Mary’s will face No. 4 CSCS on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Denver University’s Hamilton Gym in the Class 3A girls’ championship game.

“I kind of figured it would come down to this, and it did,” St. Mary’s coach Mike Burkett said. “It’s going to be a hard-fought game, and we both know what to expect from each other. So it’s going to be about who executes better down the stretch tomorrow.”

The Pirates earned a tight regular-season win over Colorado Springs Christian, 44-41, to clinch the 3A Tri-Peaks title in early February.

But 15 days later, the Lions found redemption in a one-point win for the Tri-Peaks district tournament crown.

Both teams were dominant through the state tournament, but St. Mary’s fought for a ticket to the title game against Lamar in the semifinal on Friday, beating the No. 10 seed 48-38.

“(Lamar) was the most we’ve been challenged in the postseason,” Burkett said. “We had to battle and do some special things to stop them. We’re a little banged up, but we will be ready (for Saturday).”

CSCS, however, continued its hot streak, beating Moffat County by 21 in the semifinals.

On the way to the title game, the Lions outscored opponents 224-123. St. Mary’s had a 238-132 edge over opponents in the postseason.

“This game is going to be special because it really proves how tough our league (3A Tri-Peaks) was this year,” Burkett said. “It’s a tough league to play in, but I think it helped prepare us for this ultimate part of the journey to get to the finals.”

CSCS is led by juniors Megan Engesser (21.9 points per game) and Rachel Ingram (14.5 ppg).

Sophomore Josephine Howery leads the Pirates with 14.4 points per game, and Makenna Bodette averages 12.7.

St. Mary’s and CSCS are ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively as the highest scoring 3A teams in the state. The Pirates average 62.2 points per game, while the Lions average 58.5.

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