Denver - There was one point in Friday’s Class 3A semifinal when the second-seeded Colorado Springs Christian School girls’ basketball team had as many 3-pointers as No. 3 Pagosa Springs had points, but shooting was a secondary point of praise for Lions coach Mark Engesser after the program secured its third consecutive trip to the state title game.

Rachel Ingram’s third 3-pointer of the early stages, the team’s seventh, gave the Lions a 25-7 lead early in the second quarter.

The Lions finished with 12 triples in a comfortable 59-35 victory over the Pirates.

Still, with the Lions coming off a poor showing on the glass in Thursday’s quarterfinal and Pagosa Springs playing a pair of posts 6-foot or taller, rebounding was the subject of coach’s praise.

“Our No. 1 key was rebounding,” Engesser said. “If we would’ve let what happened yesterday happen today … we held them to only three second-chance baskets.”

It turned out, the Lions got some second-chance offense of their own. A pair of senior Megan Engesser’s five 3-pointers came after CSCS offensive rebounds.

“The girls just really fought hard today,” the CSCS coach said. “I’m really proud of them.”

Engesser’s last 3-pointer gave her 2,000 career points.

“I think five games ago, I had to get so many and I was like, ‘I don’t even want to think about that. I just wanted to get back to the state championship,’” the senior said.

The 3-point barrage started early.

After the Lions got a stop - Engesser with the defensive rebound - on Pagosa Springs’ first possession, Ingram opened the scoring with the first 3. Ingram’s second gave the Lions a 6-4 lead, the second and final lead change, midway through the opening eight minutes. CSCS freshman Elleah Hoekert then bookended a Ingram layup with two 3s of her own. Engesser ended the first quarter with her first 3-pointer, giving the Lions a 19-7 lead to start the second.

Engesser’s second triple came on a shot that she followed by yelling “OFF,” as a warning of sorts to her teammates, only to see the ball slip over the front rim and down. She cracked a smile, covered her mouth as if she could take the shout back and shook her head.

“I screamed it loud,” she said. “It felt really bad coming off my hand, and I thought for sure it was an airball, but it wasn’t.”

Ingram followed with the team’s seventh three, and a strong defensive effort, cooked up by the CSCS coach in Friday’s early hours, kept the Pirates at bay. Daughter chalked the strong defensive showing on short notice to a smart and dedicated team with a “great” coach.

“If he says we’re doing this, then we’re like ‘OK, we gotta figure out how to do it, just go out there and get it done,’ ” the CSCS senior said.

Engesser led the Lions with 19 points. Hoekert added 17 and Ingram finished with 16. Each hit at least three 3-pointers.

Another win over the Pirates - the ones from St. Mary’s - will provide the championship ending the Lions have hunted for the last two seasons.

“Enjoying every moment, because we’re not going to get another one,” Megan Engesser said. “Hoping that we can come out tomorrow and play our game.”

Friday, the Lions’ game was defense and rebounding.

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