Mar 9, 2014 12:10 AM by Greg Smith
DENVER - Pueblo South's defense kept dreams alive of earning back-to-back Class 4A girls' basketball championship state trophies.
"We are just trying to do what we did last year," Pueblo South senior Shannon Patterson said after the Colts' 36-21 victory. "It's a great atmosphere and our team did really well. We showed a lot of heart on the court and that is what counts."
The No. 1 seed Colts (24-2) dominated No. 2 seed Elizabeth Cardinals (23-3) in the Great 8 game Saturday night at the Denver Coliseum. Pueblo South's victory was spearheaded by the Colts' defense that held Elizabeth to just five points in the first half.
The Cardinals finished the game 8-for-35 from the field for 22.9 percent shooting. The familiar face of Elizabeth senior Tatum Neubert was the key defensively for Pueblo South.
Pueblo South downed Elizabeth 56-41 earlier in the year on Feb. 1. Patterson had 24 points in the victory, while Neubert had 25 points in the loss for the Cardinals.
"I knew I had to shut her (Neubert) down," Pueblo South junior Sissy Hall said. "If she was getting the ball she would be scoring and it would be a different game."
Hall used her length to deny the 6-foot-2 Neubert the ball down low the entire game. Neubert was held to two points through three quarters. She eventually finished with a team-high nine points for the Cardinals.
"Sissy did a really good job and the guards did a really good job putting pressure on," Patterson said. "We knew she (Neubert) was going to try to take over."
Elizabeth rallied with 13 points in the fourth quarter after trailing 25-8 after three quarters. The Cardinals went on a 10-0, but it was just too late to overcome the 20-point led Pueblo South had built by the end of the third quarter.
The Colts didn't have a stellar shooting night shooting 12-for-43 from the field for 27.9 percent, but it was good enough with their solid defense.
Patterson finished with a game-high 17 points, including going 9-for-13 from the free-throw line. Hall added eight points and Jaylyn Duran and Kendra Jesik had five points each for the Colts.
"We just knew would couldn't let our tiredness get to us," said Hall, who only left the floor in the final seconds. "We had to keep going hard. We only had 32 minutes to give it our all."
The defending 4A state champions will have the opportunity to win its six girls hoops title in the school's history as the Colts head to the Final Four for the third straight season.
Pueblo South will face Mesa Ridge in the semifinals Thursday, March 13, at the Coors Events Center in Boulder. Mesa Ridge defeated D'Evelyn 47-41 earlier in the day at the Coliseum.
"It feels great. We are ready," Hall said about another trip to Boulder. "We know what we have to do to win."