Sierra High School girls basketball team upset No. 6-seeded Thompson Valley Tuesday night with a 44-40 win in its Class 4A Sweet 16 road contest.
The Stallions (20-4), the No. 11 seed, will play No. 3 Green Mountain in the Great 8 at 7 p.m. Friday, March 6.
Sierra’s win against the Eagles (23-2) was Thompson Valley’s first loss since Dec. 5 – a 55-47 defeat to Vista Peak Prep.
The Eagles’ had not lost at home since Jan. 22, 2019, when Greeley West bested them 44-33.
The teams in Tuesday’s contest played tug-o-war with the score and exchanged the lead nine times in the contest. The final exchange came when the Stallions took a 41-40 lead in the fourth and staved off the Eagles’ offense.
Sierra held Thompson Valley to 15 second-half points to secure the victory.
(Not so) Sweet 16
Harrison watched as Pueblo West, once again, left Thorpe Gymnasium with a victory. Pueblo West hit a buzzer-beater during a Dec. 19 regular season game to beat Harrison, and on Thursday used a furious charge in the fourth to win.
The Cyclones, the No. 10 seed, defeated the No. 6-seeded Panthers 58-54 Thursday night in the Sweet 16 game to advance to the Great 8.
“March Madness, man,” said Panthers coach Eric Kaiser. “Sometimes that’s just how the ball rolls. I’m proud of my guys, and they overcame a lot since Nov. 18.”
Harrison (19-5) took a 6-4 lead in the first quarter after a pair of triples from Tayzhean Archuleta. They held that advantage until Pueblo West’s Makai Funaki hit a lay up with two minutes left in the fourth that gave the Cyclones (19-6) a 53-52 lead.
The sway in momentum came at the end of the third when Harrison allowed Jimmy Wardle to sink a pair of 3-pointers for Pueblo West with less than a minute left in the period.
“I have to give credit to Pueblo West and coach Ty (Trahern) and his staff,” Kaiser said. “They’re a phenomenal group and you‘re going to see them in the dance. So it’s not like we didn’t lose to a great team. As far as us, we didn’t execute when the stakes were a little higher; we didn’t get into a rhythm. Credit Pueblo West for that as well.”
Makeah Scippio, who finished with 15 points, started the scoring in the fourth with a lay up to build Harrison’s lead to 39-34.
But the Cyclones whittled away at the lead and closed the gap to 44-42 after a Wardle 3-pointer with 5:22 left in the game.
From there, the Cyclones outscored the Panthers 16-10 to close the contest.
“I think we played a really good game but they hit some real tough shots,” said Donta Dawson, who finished with 12 points. “There’s not a lot we can do about that. The game just didn’t go our way, but that’s God’s plan.”