ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Tigers bring Eagles' 43-game league win streak to an end

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By Dan Johnson

After four-plus years of dominance, the Dakota Ridge girls basketball team finally tasted defeat in Class 5A Jefferson County League play.

Early feedback from the taste test revealed the Eagles didn’t like it.

Kait Goodall’s putback with 25 seconds remaining proved to be the winning basket, as Lakewood ended Dakota Ridge’s remarkable 43-game league winning streak with a dramatic 67-66 victory Jan. 29 at Dakota Ridge High School.

“We’re still in a shock a little bit,” said Dakota Ridge senior Brooke Pendergraft, who led the Eagles (3-1 Jeffco, 14-3 overall) with 19 points. “We’re not used to losing, but we needed to come out better than we did. We dug ourselves too big of a hole and it was too hard to get out of.”

The Eagles trailed by 13 after a quarter but fought back and held a slim two-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter. In those final eight minutes there were five ties and eight lead changes between the two teams.

Dakota Ridge’s Lindsi Holm (11 points) hit a 3-pointer with 1:46 to go, giving the Eagles a three-point lead at 64-61. The Tigers (3-1, 13-4) would outscore the Eagles 6-2 the rest of the way, with four of those points going to Goodall on second-chance opportunities.

“We knew they wouldn’t back down and that it was going to be close down to the very end,” Pendergraft said. “We tried to get a stop on defense, it just didn’t go our way.”

Following Goodall’s go-ahead putback, the Eagles didn’t call a timeout, choosing instead to bring the ball up and run their regular offense. Dakota Ridge got the ball inside to Jenna Santistevan -- who scored eight of her 16 points in the fourth -- but her left-handed hook shot was no good and Lakewood (which was led by 26 points by Erica Hicks) came away with possession after a jump ball. Carly Cator (11 points) was fouled on the ensuing inbounds and missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving the home team just seven-tenths of a second to change its fate. The Eagles tried a desperation three-quarter-court heave, but couldn’t get the shot off in time.

As Pendergraft stated earlier, Dakota Ridge dug itself an early hole. Lakewood jumped out of the gates hot and ended the first quarter on an 18-3 run to take a 22-9 lead into the second quarter.

The Eagles, who turned the ball over 10 times in the first quarter, finally picked up the pace and ended the second quarter on a 7-1 run to close to within a basket entering halftime.

In the third quarter, Pendergraft took over, scoring 10 of her 19 points. She hit consecutive 3-pointers down the stretch, the second giving the Eagles a 48-46 lead at the end of the quarter.

“We’re going to come together and bounce back,” Pendergraft said. “We’re going to keep this feeling with us in practice and hopefully we’ll play harder because teams are out to get us.”

Lakewood 22-8-16-21—67

Dakota Ridge 9-19-20-18—66

Lakewood: Katie Rosa 6 0-0 12, Kait Goodall 7 4-6 18, Carly Cator 5 1-2 11, Erica Hicks 9 6-8 26. Totals: 27 11-16 67

Dakota Ridge: Jenna Santistevan 8 0-2 16, Lindsi Holm 4 1-4 11, Jennelle Branting 5 0-0 10, Brooke Pendergraft 7 3-4 19, Liz Malik 1 1-2 3, Tira Callaway 2 0-0 4, Janelle Baal 1 1-2 3. Totals: 28 6-14 66.

3-pt. goals: Hicks 2; Holm 2, Pendergraft 2.