COLFAX - As the final seconds ticked away Thursday night, El Paso-Gridley High School girls basketball coach Linda Hocker turned to the crowd behind the Titans' bench, raised both arms triumphantly and gave an emphatic left-handed fist pump.
Yeah, revenge is pretty sweet. It's even better when it comes in the postseason.
The seventh-seeded Titans shot 46 percent and dominated the boards to claim a 44-28 win over the host Mustangs in the championship game of the Ridgeview Class A Regional.
"They just beat us on a last-second shot last Thursday, and it left a bad taste in our mouth," Hocker said. "We knew we could get them if we just shot the ball better."
EPG, which ended the regular season with a 35-34 Midstate Conference loss to third-seeded Ridgeview, improved to 19-7 with its first regional title since 1998. The Titans will face the host Saints (17-11) at 8 p.m. Monday in the semifinals of the Central Catholic Sectional.
"This means the world," said EPG senior forward Amanda Kowalski, who had a game-high 15 points and 11 rebounds. "Our intensity was up to the highest level, and we all wanted it more than anything else. We just played as a team. That's all you can do."
The Titans solved Ridgeview's full-court press from the outset and ended the first half with a 13-5 run to break open a tight game and grab a 22-12 advantage. With Ridgeview (23-8) shooting a woeful 18 percent (10 of 56) from the field overall, EPG easily pulled away in the second half despite committing 10 of its 21 turnovers in the fourth quarter.
"This is amazing," said EPG junior guard Amber Fennell, who collected 12 points and eight rebounds. "We played our hearts out. We've been practicing our butts off because we really wanted this. We were all on tonight and we all came to play. It paid off in the end."
The Titans also received eight points from Kayla Bullard and eight rebounds from freshman Kindi Bullard. EPG outrebounded Ridgeview 34-19.
"Our defense is always consistent and solid, and we got the inside-outside scoring going tonight," Hocker said. "Kindi doesn't score a lot but you would never know she was a freshman. She was an animal on the boards, and Kayla Barnard hit some big shots tonight.
"We finally got the balance offensively and shot a good percentage. I know they talk about their defense, but our defense was outstanding tonight."
Senior forward Mackenzie Roth, who hit the game-winning shot for Ridgeview in last week's win over EPG, had a team-high 10 points before leaving the game with a knee injury early in the final period.
"The difference tonight was every loose ball, they were on it," said Ridgeview coach Mindy Whitehouse. "I have to give it to them. My girls didn't get after it like they should have, and when we got down they got nervous. You hate to say they wanted it more, and I don't think that was the case. They just outhustled us."