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St. Mary’s claims 3A girls basketball title against Colorado Springs Christian

Mike Burkett waited nearly two decades for this exact moment.

Over the last 19 years as girls basketball coach at St. Mary’s High School in Colorado Springs, Burkett had placed all around the Class 3A state tournament: One second, two thirds, a fourth, a fifth and a couple sixths. But never a championship, at least, not until Saturday.

St. Mary’s defeated Colorado Springs Christian 44-38 to claim the title, and in the postgame glow of television cameras on the Ritchie Center at the University of Denver floor, Burkett soaked in his new place in school history.

“All I can say is it’s a great feeling,” he said. “It’s kind of close to the birth of a child.”

No. 3 St. Mary’s (26-1) only regular-season loss entering the tournament was against No. 4 CSC (23-4) — and the rematch lived up to the hype. St. Mary’s led by as many as nine points early in the second half, but CSC junior forward Megan Engesser willed her team back with a game-high 21, and the deficit was two points with under a minute left.

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