Discovery Canyon senior Ashten Prechtel clenched the misfired Wilson basketball early in a first-round playoff win over Northfield on Tuesday in the Thunder gym to climb atop the Colorado record book.
Her third rebound of the opening minutes gave her 1,300 for her career, one more than the record previously held by Mesa Ridge standout Kylee Shook.
“Obviously it wasn’t my main focus going into the game, but it was pretty cool feeling,” Prechtel said.
“Hopefully it stays on there for a long time.”
Unofficially, Prechtel finished with 25 rebounds, which would give her 1,322 and counting heading into the No. 18 Thunder’s second-round game at No. 15 The Classical Academy on Friday.
The 49-38 win matched Discovery Canyon’s deepest run into the playoffs in Prechtel’s four years, and the Stanford-bound star can now focus exclusively on extending her prep career.
“My focus is to win games, but I was just trying to be more aggressive going after rebounds,” Prechtel said after grabbing a combined 53 rebounds in the final two games of the regular season.
“Obviously it helped.”
Prechtel had her way early on.
She scored the game’s first 10 points, including a jumper and 3-pointer that hardly drew iron, but the Nighthawks’ aggressive double teams eventually threw the Thunder out of rhythm. Northfield answered with a 9-0 run to make it a one-point game.
“They had a good gameplan, but (there were) a lot of nerves,” Thunder coach Heath Kirkham said. “We’ve got a lot of girls that don’t have any playoff experience.”
Prechtel added a couple more buckets to finish with 14 first-half points and as many rebounds, and the Thunder led 22-21 at the break.
She scored the first four points of the second half, but another stretch of poor execution from the Thunder saw the visitors take a 32-30 lead with just over two minutes left in the third.
Prechtel’s second 3-pointer gave the Thunder a three-point advantage to end the third before she scored the first bucket of the fourth to make it 37-32.
Northfield rallied back to cut Discovery Canyon’s lead to 39-37 before junior Mackenzie Seitz made her biggest impact, scoring a pair of buckets from the post and drawing a charge with the Nighthawks honing in on Prechtel.
“We always have to find a way to work around it,” Seitz said. “It was just a combination of good passes and assists and just finding the open player.”
The charge set up the final field goal of Prechtel’s 27 points.
“I don’t care what you do,” Kirkham said. “You try to run a box-and-one, whatever they did, double team her all over the floor, she’s going to get her points. She continues to work hard on offense even though she’s not in the flow.”
Then, Seitz finished off her 14-point performance to give the Thunder a nine-point lead with little more than a minute left.
“Mackenzie played great at the end,” Prechtel said. “I’m super excited for her. I just want her to keep playing like that and to keep building confidence.”
Seitz is the teammate that often works against Prechtel in practice.
“It’s very frustrating,” Seitz said before adding a rare made shot against a 6-foot-5 defender is cause for celebration.
“I love playing against her. She makes me better.”
As of Tuesday, Seitz works against the best rebounder in Colorado girls’ basketball history.
“Ashten will forever leave her mark on this program,” Kirkham said. “Not only as being the best player in school history, but for girls to come.”