Green Mountain’s season ends with another state semifinal loss

Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 3/25/21

LAKEWOOD — It was unfortunately a familiar feeling for Green Mountain’s girls bas-ketball team Thursday, March 18. The No. 3-seeded Wizards defeated No. 2 Green Mountain 70-44 in a Class 4A state …

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Green Mountain’s season ends with another state semifinal loss

Posted

LAKEWOOD — It was unfortunately a familiar feeling for Green Mountain’s girls bas-ketball team Thursday, March 18.

The No. 3-seeded Wizards defeated No. 2 Green Mountain 70-44 in a Class 4A state semifinal game on the Rams’ home court to end Green Mountain season. It was a heart-breaking loss for Green Mountain (17-1 record).

The Rams were undefeated going into the Final 4 game. Green Mountain’s last loss came a year ago when the Rams lost in the 4A state semifinal against Holy Family.

“Windsor is on a different level for now,” Green Mountain coach Darren Pitzner admitted. “It’s something our next senior class and our underclassmen can emulate and shoot for. I’m excited about where Green Mountain is going.”

The Rams were trying to advance to a girls basketball state title game for the first time in the program’s history. Instead, it was Windsor (16-2) moving on to its first championship game since the Wizards won the 4A title back in 1994.

“This means so much. We were so ready and excited,” Windsor junior Alexis Backhaus said after the road victory against Green Mountain. “We’ve been ready since June. We’ve been doing things since then to prepare. This is what we were meant to do this season.”

However, it was No. 4 Mullen (17-2 record) lifting the 4A state title Sunday, March 21, at the World Arena in Colorado Springs. The Mustangs dominated the Wizards with a 67-44 victory.

In the semifinal between Windsor and Green Mountain the Rams actually led 9-8 through a sluggish first quarter for both teams offensive, but Windsor turned it on in the second quarter.

Backhaus poured in a pair of early baskets in the third quarter. Reed powered her way inside to put Windsor up 14-11 with 4:55 left in the second quarter. Then it was senior Kylie Sanger to get going offensive with a pair of 3-pointers before the midway point of the second quarter.

“We are super in shape,” Backhaus said of the Wizards outscoring the Rams 43-26 in the second and third quarters. “We just kept running and pushing. We kept running our offense like we do every game.”

Backhaus (23 points), Sanger (14 points) and Reed (20 points) carried the load offensively combining for 57 points. Backhaus and Sanger poured in three 3-pointers each during the middle quarters. Reed dominated down low to help the Wizards to an eighth straight victory.

“My teammates do a really good job of getting me good looks,” said Reed, who scored most of her points in the paint. “It was awesome.”

Green Mountain junior Olivia Sears and sophomore Jayda Maves had 13 points each to lead the way for the Rams, who have a 41-4 record over the past two seasons that in-cluded the program’s first state semifinal appearances.

“I’m really excited about the whole Green Mountain community that they’ve got a pro-gram from our 2nd-graders all the way up to our seniors to be proud of and motivated to see what they can accomplish,” Pitzner said.

Green Mountain graduates just one senior in Courtney Hank. Last year’s 4A Jeffco League MVP finished her career with more than 1,000 points and 600 rebounds.

“I’ve been lucky to coach a special senior in Courtney,” Pitzner said. “She has been the foundation of the turnaround of this program and the face of this program.”

Pitzner emphasized how strongly he hopes that the COVID pandemic won’t have such a hold on prep sports in Colorado moving forward. All high school sports’ seasons were shortened this school year and there was a time of no prep sports in November and December when normally the basketball season was in full-swing before winter break.

“It didn’t feel like we would ever get to this point. November and December were dark months,” Pitzner said. “I’m really excited to be done with cohorts and be together as one family. We don’t just love our varsity. We love our incoming freshmen and everything in between.”

Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage go to CHSAANow.com/Jeffco

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