Mesa Ridge’s Serin Dunne drives the ball past Widefield senior Cassandra Graham. Dunne scored a game-high 19 points.

After 14 straight victories, the Mesa Ridge girls’ basketball team felt the sting of defeat twice in a row.

But the Grizzlies had plenty of motivation heading into the final game of the regular season on Thursday.

Senior night, rivalry game, league championship, and a much-needed rebound from a two-game skid helped motivate the Grizzlies to a 56-44 win over rival Widefield to clinch the 4A CSML title.

“It was super overwhelming, and a super memorable game for me as a senior for our last league game against our rival,” said Mesa Ridge senior Angelina Jackson. “If I’m being honest those two losses we kind of dwelled on, but coming into today we were more focused on senior night and riding out this last home one together and focusing on playoffs. The two losses stung a little bit but we definitely wanted to end the season on a high note.”

Mesa Ridge shot just 3 for 15 from the field in the first quarter, but began to pull away in the second heading into halftime with an eight-point lead. The Grizzlies ran with it from there.

Mesa Ridge outscored Widefield 19-8 in the third quarter — an element of their game that Jackson said the team is focusing on coming off last week’s losses.

“The big emphasis after both of those games was coming out with fire and just really focus and play our game in the third quarter because we haven’t done that so well recently,” Jackson said.

Mesa Ridge was led by Serin Dunne with 19 points. Jackson followed with 13 points and was second on the team with seven boards. Kylie Lenberg had eight rebounds and Monet Hubbard led the team with five steals.

“We have really grown a lot this year after losing our main scorers from last year,” said first-year coach Monte Fetters. “Everybody had a new role this year, and it took a few games to adjust but once we got winning and we got confidence, now we’re playing some pretty good basketball.”

The Gladiators had three scorers in double figures, led by Liliani Krause with 16 points. Erika Warner followed with 13 and Mackenzie King scored 12. Widefield put up a fight in the fourth quarter, scoring 18 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit.

Widefield's leading scorer Aaliyah Ricketts, who averages 11.1 points and last week became the Glads' all-time leading scorer, missed the game.

Fetters said his team is looking forward from the losses and into playoffs, but hasn’t studied where they could end up in the postseason.

Heading into Thursday’s game, Mesa Ridge was ranked No. 9 in the RPI in Class 4A. The Grizzlies will know their official seed Sunday, but based on the latest rankings they will likely earn a first-round bye and host a second-round matchup.

Widefield was ranked No. 41 in 4A RPO standings heading into its regular-season finale. The top 48 teams in the RPI standings make it to the postseason.

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