The Dakota Ridge Lady Eagles, through the end of the second quarter and for all of the third, showed no reasons to believe they were in danger. The game was comfortably, so it seemed, in their control.
So when Jaylee Tait capped a furious 21-9 comeback over the game’s final 14 minutes, 19 seconds with a layup with 26 seconds left, and Columbine’s defense stopped Dakota Ridge twice in the game’s final eight seconds for a stunning 54-53 home victory Jan. 9 the Lady Eagles were left searching for answers as to what just happened.
“I just thought we got out of our game. We weren’t being in aggressive mode, even when we were pulling the ball out and trying to work the clock a little. We were just tentative,” Dakota Ridge head coach Traci Nemechek said. “No matter what offense you’re running you’re running an offense. We just weren’t doing it.”
Dakota Ridge did it well enough in the first three quarters, in spite of falling behind 14-5 early on. But the Lady Eagles shut down their offense in the fourth, getting only a Solveig Nelson field goal with 50 seconds left to give Dakota Ridge its final lead at 53-52.
“We started playing smart and kept up our intensity and just kept playing hard,” said Tait, who finished with 10 points.
And the Lady Rebels (3-9, 2-3 5A Jeffco), who snapped an eight-game losing streak, did that in spite of being in foul trouble for much of the game. Three starters — Tait, Lindsey Thomas and Mia Carter — had two fouls each in the game’s first 4 minutes, 22 seconds.
Carter finished with a team-high 17 points. Dakota Ridge (3-9, 2-3) was led by Lauren Wood’s 22 points. Nelson added 10.
Nemechek could name a number of reasons why the game got away — turnovers, not taking care of the ball, failing to crash the boards, not blocking out, not finishing defensive possessions. But, she said, it was Columbine’s desire that truthfully won out in the end.
Contact Michael Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.