Centauri advances to semifinals with win over Liberty

DENVER—The University of Denver’s Hamilton Gymnasium was partly kind to the San Luis Valley as the Centauri Lady Falcons defeated the Liberty Common Eagles 41-37 to advance to Friday afternoon’s semifinal match while the Alamosa Mean Moose dropped a tough one and saw their season come to an end.

Centauri 41, Liberty Common 37 (G)
The Centauri Falcons connected on a dreadful 14-of-27 (51.9 percent) from the free throw line including going 4-of-14 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter in which they could have sealed the win. Despite that, the Falcons defense was smothering and helped them eek out a 4-point win to advance to a date with the Lamar Lady Savages on Friday night at 5 p.m.

The Savages are the only smudge on the Falcons’ season. If it weren’t for a 30-20 defeat at the hands of Lamar the second week of December, the Falcons would be undefeated this season. The Savages, coached by San Luis Valley native Erik Melgoza, defeated the Pagosa Springs Pirates in an overtime battle to start off Thursday’s action at Hamilton Gymnasium. The two teams square off in the semifinals at 4 p.m.

In the game, the Falcons took a 12-10 lead after the opening quarter before the Falcons went cold from the field. They were outscored 10-7 in the second quarter as they hit 7-of-9 (77.8 percent) from the free throw line to make the halftime score 20-19.

The Falcons jumped out to a 6-0 run to take a 25-20 lead. The lead was the largest moments later when Centauri led by 8, before the Eagles clawed back into it as they finished the quarter with a 4-0 run to enter the fourth only trailing by five, 33-28.

Halley Miklos and Hannah Kohl did everything they could to get the win for Liberty Common, but they could not capitalize on chances in the paint or on the problems Centauri had at the line late. The lead once again grew to eight, but the Eagles rallied back and closed as close as one point because of the free throw troubles. At one point the Falcons missed seven straight baskets but junior Caroline Van Berkum hit the team’s most critical free throws to seal the game late.

Melissa Wilson led the way for the Falcons with 10 points, and Alyssa Gomez, Ember Canty, and Van Berkum each had nine.  The Falcons shot 13-of-38 (34.2 percent) from the field including 1-of-5 from beyond the arch. Miklos and Kohl combined for 27 points to help pace the Eagles who hit 11-of-48 (22.9 percent) from the field including two 3-pointers.

Faith Christian 76, Alamosa 49
Despite trailing by just three at the halftime break, the Alamosa Mean Moose thought they were going to be able to repeat their previous win over the Faith Christian Eagles. However, an 18-11 third quarter and the ability to force Alamosa to foul in the fourth quarter saw the Alamosa season end with a 20-4 record.

Alamosa opened up with a productive first quarter with four players scoring including junior Noah Romero. However, just as Ryan Brubacher scored he went down with a knee injury. This allowed the Eagles to capitalize after they trailed 11-7 entering the second.

That is when junior Jonah Gardner came alive. He scored nine of 11 first half points in the quarter, more than Alamosa scored all quarter. The Eagles outscored Alamosa 15-8 and took a 22-19 lead.

In the third, the lead continued to grow as the Eagles scored 18 points in the third to take a 40-30 lead.

The fourth quarter, became a free throw shooting contest as the Eagles outscored Alamosa 36-29. This included going 23-of-26 at the free throw line.

In the game, Noah Romero and Ryan Brubacher scored 13 points to lead the Mean Moose, who finished the game shooting 20-of-47 (42.6 percent) from the field including 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) from beyond the arch. The Eagles were led by Gardner who scored 35 points while Benjamin Hawkins scored 14. The Eagles shot 21-of-34 (61.8 percent) from the field including three 3-pointers. They finished the game 31-of-35 (88.6 percent) from the line.