Berthoud girls great in Great Eight win over Erie

Photo by Maggie Murtagh –
The Berthoud High girls basketball team celebrates in the locker room with their Final Four plaque after defeating Erie by a 64-60 final in overtime on Friday night at BHS
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By Dan Karpiel

The Surveyor

Somethings cannot be measured.

Yes, the Berthoud High girls basketball team has at least two All-State caliber players. Yes, they have excellent role players and a deep bench. Their quartet of coaches are as a good a coaching staff as the school has seen.

But what sets great teams apart from the good ones is heart, drive, determination and a never-say-die attitude. Those traits are what make the difference in the postseason.

In front of a crowd that was lined up around the school an hour before tipoff Friday night, the Lady Spartans rallied from a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit, sent the game to overtime and won their Great Eight matchup with Erie by a 64-60 final score. The win sends Berthoud to the 4A state Final Four for the first time since 2007.

“I’m so proud, above all else, of their willingness to fight until the very end and know that as long as there is time left on the clock, we have a chance,” Berthoud Head Coach Alan Gibson said as his Lady Spartans and their hometown crowd celebrated the victory.

Erie assembled a 12-2 run in the final four minutes to the second quarter to take a 30-29 lead into halftime. Berthoud’s guests stayed hot in the third quarter, allowing Berthoud to score only five points while they hung 11 on the board to lead 34-41 entering the final eight minutes of regulation. Just a minute into the fourth quarter, Berthoud star center, senior Celsey Selland, fouled out and Erie pushed their lead to 45-38.

Then, the Lady Spartans’ reached down and found that little something extra to reassert themselves and rally back. Over the preceding 25 games, Berthoud had only twice found themselves behind so late in the game, the most recent was Feb. 8, coincidentally against Erie team, who went on to hand Berthoud their second loss of the season.

Ally Padilla got the comeback started for Berthoud. The sophomore made a lay-up to cut the score to 45-40. On Erie’s next possession she swiped a steal and made another lay-up, cutting Erie’s lead from seven to three in just 35 seconds.

Berthoud junior Bre Fowler then swished a pair of free-throws, senior Maddie Barcewski did the same 17 seconds later to put the Lady Spartans ahead 46-45 with 3:46 left in regulation.

Erie then showed why they entered the state playoffs as the No. 5 seed and re-took the lead, a three-pointer and an and-one sandwiched a one-for-two effort from the line from Berthoud’s Anndee Davidson as Erie jumped up by four, 51-47 with 2:06 left on the clock.

Fowler then again swiped a steal and converted the lay-up while drawing contact. She made her free-throw and Berthoud trailed by one. With under a minute remaining, Fowler again was able to draw a foul, made one of two from the line and the score was tied at 51. Berthoud’s defense clamped down for the final minute and sent the game to overtime.

Berthoud rode the momentum from their fourth-quarter rally and fed off the energy of the overcapacity home crowd in the overtime period. Fowler scored a lay-up after a steal and senior Emily Cavey followed that up with a long jumper to give the Lady Spartans a four-point cushion, 55-51 with 2:42 left in the four-minute extra period.


Erie continued to fight, drained a pair of three-pointers while Cavey added another lay-up and went four-for-four from the line. Fowler also drained a pair from the charity stripe as Berthoud left no doubt they would be the team moving on to the Final Four.

“Down seven, 45-38, after we had only scored 10 points in probably a quarter and a half, which is very atypical for us, and with a different group they probably just say ‘OK, it’s over, we had a good year, it was fun while it lasted’ but this group is way different,” Gibson said.

Collectively, Berthoud made good on 22 free-throws on the night, seven in fourth quarter and Cavey and Fowler went a combined seven-of-eight from the line in overtime. Gibson stated the team has shot over 25,000 free-throws in practice since the season began, with games like Friday night’s being the reason for such a heavy emphasis.

Cavey was nothing short of sensational in the game. She not only led Berthoud by scoring 29 points, she also grabbed six boards and swiped five steals but it was her presence on the court – fighting for every single loose ball, challenging every Erie shot attempt, going after every rebound, directing her teammates into place – will not show up on the stat sheet but was unquestionably a gigantic factor in the outcome of the game.

Gibson also credited the home crowd, which had to be the largest to ever fill the Rusty Mathena Gymnasium and remained vocal and supportive throughout the game.

“The way this environment was, and we’ve played in front of good crowds in our previous two (playoff games) but this was an incredible atmosphere and for our girls to battle back, I think a lot of it had to do with the support they had here in our gym,” Gibson said. “I can’t say enough about the student body, about our administration, about our community and the support they have given these girls.”

Berthoud will face Mullen in the 4A state Final Four Thursday at the Denver Coliseum. A win will send the Lady Spartans to Saturday’s state championship contest.