LAKEWOOD — It wasn't until the final buzzer that a riot of emotions came crashing down for the players and coaches of the Sierra girls' basketball team. Tears fell and heads dropped onto each others' shoulders.
The Stallions' season ended Friday night in sadness and heartbreak.
"I'm disappointed," senior Azaria Lacour said.
No. 11 Sierra lost 64-33 at No. 3 Green Mountain in the Great 8 of the Class 4A playoffs. It was the second time in three years that the Stallions (20-5) were close to a Final Four spot.
No Stallions team has made it past this stage of the state tournament.
"This is a tough one," Sierra coach Joseph Williams said. "This senior group was part of the Great 8 team two years ago and they really wanted to make history. We were right there, right on the edge."
The Stallions boasted a 13-game winning streak and a Cinderella-like run before their matchup against Green Mountain (24-2). But the Rams proved to be too much in their own gym in front of a boisterous crowd that reacted to nearly everything.
Green Mountain was led by Avery Oaster and Courtney Hank, who each scored 17 points. The Rams produced rally after rally throughout the night. It seemed as if every time the Stallions made a play, Green Mountain had an answer.
The Rams opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run that broke open a 12-12 tie. From there, the momentum truly never stopped — highlighted by a 13-3 spurt that capped off the third quarter, giving Green Mountain a 48-24 advantage.
The Stallions didn't take the loss lightly. One by one, they exited the visiting locker room in tears.
This wasn't unfamiliar territory for Sierra. The Stallions have become a well-known underdog under Williams' watch, evident by their recent history of advancing deep into the playoffs as a relatively higher seed. They have now made it to at least the Sweet 16 in the past three seasons.
In 2018, they were ranked 20th but that didn't stop them from a Great 8 appearance. This is the same program that has made it to the state playoffs the past 17 seasons.
Friday marked the final prep game for four Stallions — Lacour, D'nae Wilson, Annalisa Mileto and Drew Girling. All four seniors started. Wilson led with 15 points on four 3-pointers, supported by Lacour's eight.
Just like her teammates, Lacour was stunned by the loss.
"We should've made it to the Final Four," she said. "We worked too hard to let it all go like that."