Saturday's prep roundup: St. Mary's, Manitou Springs girls advance to 3A state hoops quarterfinals

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GIRLS' BASKETBALL

St. Mary's 59, Jefferson Academy 29

At Keenesburg: After falling short in the regional final the past three seasons, ninth-ranked St. Mary's dominated No. 24 Jefferson Academy to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2013.

Freshman Josephine Howery scored a team-high 11 points as the Pirates (21-3) built a 14-point lead by the end of the first quarter and cruised into the quarterfinals, where they'll meet top-seeded Sterling (24-0) at a to-be-determined time Thursday at the University of Denver.

"The kids were motivated to get after it and play hard, and this is the culmination of all the hard work they put into it," St. Mary's coach Mike Burkett said. "It's nice to get over the hump and be back in the quarterfinals."

St. Mary's held the Jaguars to single-digit scoring in the first three quarters. By halftime, the Pirates had a 33-8 cushion.

Jefferson Academy (16-9) beat regional host and eighth-ranked Weld Central on Friday.

Manitou Springs 47, Faith Christian 30

At Arvada: Heading into February, Manitou Springs sported a 6-7 record and had dropped three league games. But it's the finish that matters, not the start.

On Saturday, the 12th-ranked Mustangs (16-8) won for the 10th time in 11 games, routing No. 5 and regional host Faith Christian (18-6) and advancing to the 3A state quarterfinals for the third straight season by ending the Eagles' eight-game winning streak.

Manitou Springs reached the title game last year, falling to Lutheran.

Haxtun 42, ECA 31

At Aurora: Eight minutes into the 2A East Region Pod E championship game, No. 5 Evangelical Christian Academy had just one point to show for its efforts.

That 13-1 deficit was too much to overcome as the Eagles (18-5), despite 10 points each from Maggie Kirkpatrick and Amanda Bost, bowed out of the state playoffs one game shy of reaching the quarterfinals for the first time since 2012.

The No. 6-seed Bulldogs (19-4) extended the lead to 23-7 by halftime and took a 31-18 advantage into the fourth quarter.

"They were big inside, so we needed to hit a few outside shots," Eagles coach Bruce Beers said. "And we didn't. We couldn't score, so we couldn't get into our press. They played hard and did everything I asked, but the ball just didn't bounce our way."

Simla 40, Ellicott 36

At Doherty: Ellicott's bid to reach the 2A state quarterfinals for the second time in three seasons was denied by a league rival.

Simla (19-4) avenged its only Black Forest League loss as the No. 3 seeded Cubs downed the No. 8 Thunderhawks (19-5) in the East Region Pod C championship game.

The two teams split the first two meetings, with Ellicott claiming a 40-36 win Feb. 17 en route to an undefeated league season.

BOYS' BASKETBALL

Highland 94, Peyton 63

At Doherty: After a promising start, No. 7 Peyton (19-5) was outscored by 28 points during the second and third quarters as No. 4 Highland (23-0) romped to the 2A East Region Pod D title.

The Panthers led 13-12 at the end of the first quarter but found themselves in a 14-point hole by halftime.

And that hole only got deeper as Highland stretched the advantage to 71-44 after three quarters.

Peyton, which enjoyed one of the state's biggest turnarounds after a 5-15 record last season, was bidding for its first 2A quarterfinal berth since 2013.