DENVER — Peyton Marvel was simply the best player on the court in the Class 4A girls basketball Great 8 game March 3 at the Denver Coliseum.
The D’Evelyn junior had 36 points and 14 rebounds to help lift the No. 2-seeded Jaguars to a 54-47 victory over No. 7 Riverdale Ridge.
“It could be a school record for points in a playoff game too,” D’Evelyn coach Chris Olson said of Marvel’s career-high 36 points. “Her last name says it all. I don’t know what else to say. She competes as hard as anyone we have ever had. She takes challenges and preforms on big stages. That is what great players do.”
Marvel topped her double-double average — 19.2 points and 12.8 rebound per game — while advancing the undefeated Jaguars (26-0 record) to the program’s first Final Four in a decade.
It wasn’t easy by any means. Things looked dicey for D’Evelyn in the first half with Riverdale Ridge (22-4) taking a 19-12 lead midway through the second quarter. The Jaguars struggled shooting just 29.2 percent from the field in the first half.
“I knew my team was struggling from the beginning. I knew I had to pick them up and give them some energy. That is what I did,” said Marvel, who actually scored 15 straight points for the Jaguars from late in the first quarter until early in the third quarter. “I’m really happy to play with this amazing team. It was a team effort as well.”
Junior Macy Scheer finally hit the Jaguars’ first 3-pointer in the third quarter to tie the game up at 26-26. Scheer finished with 7 points.
“I just had to concentrate a little bit more,” Scheer said of her 3-pointer that finally fell with 5:21 left in the third quarter for the Jaguars first made shot from distance.
Marvel had D’Evelyn other 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter during a huge 11-0 run that pushed the Jaguars’ lead up to 50-41 with just over a minute to play.
“Sometimes when you get into these games it isn’t about the amount of shots you make, it’s the timing of them,” Olson said. “Those were big shots by kids who love the limelight.”
Marvel lived at the free-throw line making 15-of-19 to help finish the deal and outduel Riverdale Ridge freshman Brihanna Crittendon. The freshman phenom had 28 points, just below her 31.3 average.
“I hope that is the hardest 28 points she has ever had,” Olson said of Crittendon. “I think she had to work for most of them. That is what you have to do with great players. Make them work for everything they get.”
D’Evelyn earns its first trip to the Final Four since 2013. Olson guided the Jaguars to back-to-back 4A title games in 2012 and 2013. D’Evelyn is still looking for its first girls basketball state title to add to its two state runner-up trophies.
“I never thought I would ever be in this spot,” Marvel said. “It is amazing just to be here.”
D’Evelyn will face No. 3 University in the 4A state semifinal game slated for 11 a.m. Thursday, March 9, back at the Denver Coliseum. Top-seeded Holy Family and No. 4 Lutheran will play in the other semifinal on Thursday.
“One game at a time,” Scheer said of next week. “Final Four and then hopefully the championship.”
The 4A girls state championship game will be played at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 11, at the Denver Coliseum.
“When you get in the tournament that is what you want,” Olson said. “Play as many games as you can. Today was game 26 and now we get to put game 27 on the bottom.”
Dennis Pleuss is the sports information director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.