ARVADA — Columbine senior Araya Ogden looked as comfortable on the basketball court Feb. 17 as she does on the softball diamond.
Ogden — Columbine’s ace softball pitcher that led the Rebels to the Class 5A state championship last Fall — scored a career-high 14 points to lift Columbine to a 39-36 road victory against Arvada West.
It was the Class 6A Jeffco League finale for both Columbine (10-13, 5-5 in league) and A-West (15-8, 7-5).
“I usually don’t take shots like that, but no one was scoring,” Ogden said of her 3-pointer in the third quarter that cut A-West’s lead to 32-24. “I had to take that upon myself to give us some energy.”
The Wildcats led for the majority of the game after jumping out to a 10-0 lead to start the game. Columbine’s first points didn’t come until late in the first quarter when freshman Taylor Speir drained a 3-pointer.
“That has been who we are all year,” Columbine coach Greg Bolding Jr. said of battling back from the early double-digit deficit and turning it on in the fourth quarter. “We had some young kids who stepped up big at the end of the game. We had seniors like Araya show today that she can play a little basketball too. She put us on her back to get the win tonight.”
A-West took a 33-24 lead with 6:26 left in the fourth quarter when junior Malorie Byrne made a 3-pointer. However, Columbine went on a 13-0 run over a 5-minute span in the fourth quarter. A pair of free throws by Ogden with 43 seconds left gave the Rebels their largest lead of the game at 37-33.
“We defintely weren’t ready when we came out,” Ogden said of A-West taking an early 10-0 lead. “But we came back. We wanted to win more. We wanted to prove ourselves. We came out with some more energy.”
A-West sophomore Saylor Swanson ended a 6-minute scoring drought for the Wildcats with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 37-36 with 21 seconds left. Columbine junior Emily Allison — the Rebels’ leading scorer who was held scoreless through three quarters — made a pair of big free throws with 12 seconds left to give her nine points in the four quarter.
The Wildcats weren’t able to get off a good look at a 3-pointer in the final seconds in an attempt to send the game into overtime.
A-West was hoping it will have a chance to host a first-round state playoff game for the second straight year. The Wildcats opened the postseason last year with a 24-point home victory against Broomfield before bowing out in the second round in a close game on the road against Regis Jesuit.
The Wildcats received the No. 16 seed and will host a first-round game against No. 17 Legend in the 32-team 6A state tournament that begins Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Columbine advanced to the Sweet 16 last season before losing to Arapahoe. The win assured the Rebels to make the postseason field. Columbine is the No. 24 seed and was scheduled to face No. 9 ThunderRidge on the road Feb. 21.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Bolding said of where Columbine is seeded. “I think right now the state of Colorado right now is completely open. You get a team that plays for four quarters there are a lot of opportunities out there.”
Dennis Pleuss is the sports information director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.