AURORA | The flashbacks were real for the Grandview girls basketball team Friday night, but the ending turned out much better this time.
In the same gym where city rival Regis Jesuit had ended their state championship hopes 11 months earlier in the Class 5A semifinals, the Wolves again had to play catchup against the undaunted, hot-shooting Raiders in front of a packed house and pulled the game back in range in crunch time.
But unlike the semifinal rally that came up short in a four-point loss, Grandview finished it off this time, surging to a 59-57 non-league victory in a battle of two teams ranked in the top six in 5A. Senior Marya Hudgins’ putback of a missed free throw with under a minute left gave the second-ranked Wolves their first lead since the opening quarter and she knocked down two free throws in the closing seconds to seal the victory.
“It was crazy, it definitely felt like a flashback (to the playoff game), but we stayed confident in ourselves and our defense and it came through in the end,” said Hudgins, who scored eight of her 18 points in the final quarter.
Senior Lauren Betts joined Hudgins in double figures and tied for game-high honors with 23 points and senior Amaya Charles finished with nine and had a huge steal late for coach Josh Ulitzky’s team, which won in its return to Colorado following games against elite teams from Texas and Minnesota at a nationally-televised tournament.
Grandview improved to 6-9 and 5-1 against Colorado teams.
Under first-year head coach Jordan Kelley, sixth-ranked Regis Jesuit (11-6) put on a clinic for three-plus quarters, working around the presence of the 6-foot-7 Betts in the paint for a variety of open looks from the perimeter. The Raiders knocked down nine 3-pointers in the game and led for the majority of the contest after the teams were square at 16-16 after one quarter.
Sophomore Hana Belibi tied Betts with game-high honors with 23 points, while sophomore Coryn Watts added 17 and senior Madden McHugh eight for Regis Jesuit.
Sophomore Sophia Meyer drained two 3-pointers in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter to help the Raiders build a 53-43 lead, but their shooting cooled from there and the shots that fell earlier rimmed out.
Grandview outscored Regis Jesuit 16-4 in the final six minutes and continued to chip away at the deficit. Consecutive putbacks by Hudgins and freshman Sienna Betts cut the deficit to five points and Lauren Betts’ 11th inside basket of the game made it a one-point contest with 1:25 remaining.
Charles came up with a huge steal and was fouled with just a minute left, converting a free throw to tie the game at 55. Her second attempt missed the mark, but was rebounded by Hudgins, who immediately went up for a putback that put the Wolves in the lead.
Belibi’s jump shot to tie came up just short and Hudgins coolly knocked down free throws at the other end that eventually sealed the game. London Bachelet’s putback ahead of the final horn ended the game.
Grandview turns right around with a chance to avenge its only Colorado loss thus far as it visits Mullen in a Centennial League rematch at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Regis Jesuit is back in action Feb. 2 at Castle View as it resumes Continental League play.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
(2) GRANDVIEW 59, (6) REGIS JESUIT 57
Score by quarters:
Grandview 16 12 13 18 — 59
Regis Jesuit 16 18 13 10 — 57
Amaya Charles 3 1-2 9, Sienna Betts 3 0-0 6, Gabriella Cunningham 1 1-1 3, Marya Hudgins 7 4-4 18, Lauren Betts 11 1-2 23, Isa Dillehay 0 0-0 0, Paetyn Lewis 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 7-9 59.
REGIS JESUIT (57)
Madden McHugh 3 1-2 8, Coryn Watts 5 4-4 17, Hana Belibi 9 0-0 23, Sophia Meyer 2 0-0 6, Sarah Mulbarger 0 0-0 0, London Bachelet 1 0-0 2, Kate Michalek 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 5-6 57.
3-point field goals — Grandview (2): Amaya Charles 2. Regis Jesuit (9): Hana Belibi 3, Coryn Watts 3, Sophia Meyer 2, Madden McHugh. Total fouls — Grandview 11, Regis Jesuit 9. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.