But that winning streak came to an end this weekend, just one game shy of the State Championship trophy. Norwood’s Lady Mavericks couldn’t overcome Pawnee, a team that had upset #1-ranked Simla in the semifinals, losing 28-23 in the championship match.
The Norwood girls ended their season the third ranked 1A basketball team in Colorado.
The girls’ appearance on the State Championship Finals stage was a testament to this team’s gritty determination, in a season that has seen its fair share of heartbreak for the tight-knit Norwood community and its small high school.
The girls’ basketball team was about to step onto the court at last weekend’s Regional Tournament, to fight for a State Tournament berth, when they heard that NHS junior Garrett Carothers had been buried in an avalanche while snowmobiling earlier on Saturday in Utah’s La Sal’s. Despite the tragic news, the Lady Mavericks stayed tough, going on to win their regional match and a trip to the State Tournament in the process.
By Sunday, members of both the girls’ and boys’ teams – both with State Tournament trips on the horizon – were mourning the loss of their classmate, whose body was recovered midday.
A week Norwood Schools Superintendent Dave Crews called “an emotional roller coaster” ended Saturday, with both NHS teams making the long trip to Denver, stepping onto the state basketball tournament courts with heavy hearts but steely determination. Both teams posted wins over the weekend, making their home school proud in the midst of its mourning.
The Lady Mavericks powered through their first-round match, winning 28-24 against Kim on Thursday. Norwood maintained its momentum into Friday, where they eked out the narrow win 51-48 win against Merino, earning a trip to the finals in the process.
Saturday’s finals against Pawnee found the girls stumbling for their first time in more than 20 games, coming up just short of the Championship Trophy 28-23.
The Norwood boys’ team fell in the first round to Sierra Grande, the state’s top ranked 1A team going into the State Tournament. The tight-scoring match saw the Mavericks give a good effort, falling just short with a 75-64 final score. Sierra Grande went onto to make the finals, where they succumbed to #2 ranked Caliche.
In the consolation round Norwood came back to beat Springfield 59-49. The final round of the consolation bracket found Norwood tipping off against their divisional rivals Plateau Valley. Norwood couldn’t break Plateau Valley’s code in the state consolation round finals, though they gave it a good shot: Plateau Valley just barely inched ahead 50-47.
NHS’ basketball teams returned to school Monday, to attend the memorial service for Garrett Carothers, held at the Norwood school.