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A third consecutive trip to the Denver Coliseum for a quarterfinals match up with rivals Regis started with a lights-out shooting performance for the Horizon Hawks.
The Lady Hawks, who made six of eight three-pointers in the first half to jump out to as much as a nine-point lead in the first quarter of the March 2 contest, went into halftime with a one-point lead over the Regis Jesuit Lady Raiders.
But the Raiders entered the second half with a defensive lockdown mindset, contesting every Hawk pass, shot and dribble, holding Horizon to just five of 26 shooting from the floor in the second half, as Regis Jesuit coasted to a 57-43 win.
“We shot lights out there at the beginning,” Horizon Coach Dave Doehler said. “But they came out with some adjustments and we weren’t able to capitalize on our end. We kept trying to attack to see if we could come back and try to go on a big run, but it just didn’t happen.”
The Great 8 exit is Horizon’s third straight year making it to the coliseum but not being able to advance to the Final Four, and the second straight year it came at the hands of the Raiders. The Hawks, however, lose just three seniors and Doehler said the team will be back.
“This team was the funnest one I’ve had to coach,” he said. “We’ll be back. We return nine. They’re hungry. The junior class has been here three years in a row now and we just need to take that extra step.”
The Hawks got to the Coliseum by defeating the Arapahoe Warriors 56-35 on Tuesday night in the Sweet 16 round at Horizon High School. The game was put in hand in the third quarter, where the Hawks went on a 15-4 run.
Junior point guard Aly Jimenez led the Hawks to the win in that game with 11 points, while senior Halle Carlson had nine and Izzy Allen and Caleese Ramirez each added eight.
Jimenez again led the Hawks in scoring in the Great 8 game against the Raiders, with 18 points, while Allen added 14 before exiting late in the fourth quarter with what Doehler called a stinger in her arm.
The Raiders were led by 12 points from freshman Avery Vansickle; a double-double from Noelle Cahill of 11 points and 10 rebounds; and 10 points from Francesca Belibi.The Raiders also dominated the glass, winning the rebound margin 49-30 and 20-9 on the offensive glass.
Doehler said the three seniors will be greatly missed and have added so much leadership and passion to the team over the course of the season.
“Syd Fields, her work ethic and determination is contagious,” he said. She shows up to practice every day with a smile on her face and has so much pride in this team.
“Halle Carlson, (who was held out of the Great 8 game with a concussion suffered in practice this week) has been a pleasure to coach. She really finished the season on a good note.
“You don’t replace a player like Izzy Allen. She’s a once in a lifetime kind of player.”
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