ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Eagles eliminated by Raiders

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By Dan Johnson

DENVER – In its rematch with Regis, Dakota Ridge’s girls basketball team did nearly everything right.

It still wasn’t enough to get a win.

Despite playing solid defense and controlling the glass against a Raiders team that toppled them by 40 points back in January, the Eagles were ultimately done in on March 8 by their poor shooting.

Failing to make a field goal in a second quarter where they scored just two points, the No. 2 Eagles shot just 20.8 percent from the floor in the 48-37 loss to the No. 1 Raiders in the Class 5A state tournament Great 8 game at the Denver Coliseum.

“Things definitely could’ve turned out differently if we had made a few more shots,” said Lindsi Holm, one of six seniors on the Eagles’ roster. “Especially in the second half, our shots just weren’t falling.”

No, they weren’t. And especially from the interior, a spot the Eagles usually register a good portion of their points. Against Regis, Dakota Ridge made more 3-pointers (6) than 2-pointers (5).

“We just couldn’t buy a basket, especially in the second quarter,” Dakota Ridge coach Traci Nemechek said. “But the girls never quit and fought the entire time. I’m really proud of them for that.”

Despite scoring just the two second quarter points, Dakota Ridge still found itself within striking distance at halftime, trailing by nine. Brooke Pendergraft, who registered a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, hit a 3-pointer early in the third to cut the deficit to six, but the Eagles would get no closer the rest of the way.

“I think they were playing really good D,” said Holm, who scored all six of her points in the first quarter on a pair of 3-pointers. She also had 10 rebounds. “But we were getting good looks. The shots just weren’t falling.”

While the deep senior class leaves without having made a trip to Boulder’s University of Colorado campus, site of the Final Four, they exit Dakota Ridge with plenty to hang their hats on.

Pendergraft and Holm were part of three-straight Jefferson County League championship teams (2005-07), while the others seniors played key parts in the team’s last two league titles. Dakota Ridge ripped off 43 straight wins in Jeffco before losing to Lakewood this year. The two teams would go on to share the league title with a 9-1 record.

In addition, the Eagles had fallen in the Sweet 16 round of the state tournament the past three years before finally leaping over that hurdle this season.

“Our team is so close,” Holm said. “We hang out outside of basketball and we all love each other and get along; there’s no drama.”

Added Nemechek: “The senior class has been exceptional in what they’ve been able to accomplish over the course of their career. What they’ve done as a class is they’ve set the standards really high for the program.”

Dakota Ridge 14-2-9-12—37

Regis 15-10-12-11—48

Dakota Ridge: Janelle Baal 0 0-0 0, Jenna Santistevan 0 2-2 2, Jennelle Branting 1 3-4 5, Hana Shepler 0 0-1 0, Tira Callaway 2 2-4 7, Brooke Pendergraft 4 2-4 13, Lindsi Holm 2 0-1 6, Liz Malik 2 0-0 4. Totals: 11 9-16 37.

Regis: Mariah Williams 1 5-6 7, Diana Roiniak 2 0-1 4, Megan O’Dorisio 0 2-2 2, Kelsey Roben 1 0-0 2, Mary Bokenkamp 3 0-0 8, Megan O’Neil 1 0-0 2, T’Keyah Shealy 3 4-8 10, Meghan Winters 3 0-0 8, Kamile Nacickaite 2 1-2 5. Totals: 16 12-19 48.

3-pt. goals: Pendergraft 3, Holm 2, Callaway; Bokenkamp 2, Winters 2.