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Betts and Beers is the next best rivalry in basketball

Top high school recruits Lauren Betts and Raegan Beers have played with and against each other for six years and will continue for the next four years in the Pac-12.

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — Like Larry and Magic, Bird and Taurasi, some rivalries alone are worth the price of admission. Add Betts and Beers to that list.

Lauren Betts and Raegan Beers began playing basketball together on the same EJ Hoops club team when they were in seventh grade -- playing up with the eighth graders. It was clear from the get-go that they were playing with greatness.

"I think it was in eight grade when we started playing with our own age group that I realized Lauren is going to be really good someday and I hope I don't have to play against her too much," Beers said.

Her wish was nearly granted. The two went their separate ways in high school, with Beers attending Valor Christian and Betts attending Grandview. Grandview beat Valor Christian in the 2019 playoffs, when they were both freshman. The two then met the following year in the 2020 5A semifinal, with Betts' Wolves taking down Beers' Eagles in the Final Four. The two teams met back up in January 2022 at Grandview for a regular season matchup, with the same result.

At 6'3" and 6'7" respectively, Beers has been the only formidable opponent for Betts in most games.

RELATED: Grandview rolls through quarterfinals, advances to 5A girls final four

RELATED: WATCH: Defending champion Valor Christian outlasts Chaparral to head back to final four

"I tell everyone, Raegan Beers is probably my biggest competition that I'll ever have to play against in my entire life," Betts said. "She just made me so much better and our practices were intense, we would just compete every single day."

After their recent matchup in 2022, the two watched film of each other's highlights and remarked on their improvement since their days playing together with EJ Hoops.

"Raegan is a much better shooter than I remember her being," Betts said. "You were not missing from three and I was not expecting that because I kept trying to help off the screen and of course, they kept popping it back out to you."

"Right back at Lauren! It's just her shot has improved so much and the fact that she can take it to the hole sometimes, it's like, my goodness, it's honestly so hard to defend," Beers added.

The two standout seniors have one more opportunity to show out together on the court if Grandview and Valor face off in the 5A girls basketball state championship. They're looking forward to wearing the pressure.

"I think we've grown up knowing that a lot of eyes are going to be on us, so it's going to be really interesting, but it will be a really fun game," Betts said, who has never won a state championship in her three previous seasons with Grandview.

The Valor Christian girls won the 2021 5A state championship, but Beers was left on the sidelines in a warmup shirt, after tearing her ACL. She's treating this as her sole opportunity to win a ring, as well.

"And you know that both of us are going to bring our best because we both want to win, obviously," she said. It's our last chance to get a ring."

Four years of facing off in high school weren't enough. They want to meet back up twice a year for the next four in the Pac-12. Beers committed to Oregon State in October of 2020, as the number 10 overall recruit in the 2022 class. Betts committed to Stanford in January 2021, as the number one overall recruit in the same class. She'll be joining fellow Coloradans Jana Van Gytenbeek, Fran Belibi, and Ashten Prechtel on the Cardinal squad.

RELATED: Former Colorado high school stars stand out at Stanford

"It's exciting! I can't wait until we play each other. I think it will be super fun. It's obviously going to be intense, but at the end of the day, it's still going to be super cool," Betts said. "Our parents are going to be crying and everything, my mom is going to be hysterical."

Whether it's high school or college, after the postgame handshake, the competitors remember that their relationships is bigger than basketball.

"I consider Raegan to be one of my best friends," Betts said. "So for me obviously, once we hit the court, we're not as close as we usually are and we both want to win, but when the game's over, she's like my family."

"I think having the relationship we've had for so long since seventh grade, it's just something that will never be broken, even when I play her at Stanford or when I see her at Oregon State," Beers added. "After the game, it's always going to end in a hug, usually." 

Valor Christian High School plays Arapahoe High School on Thursday, March 10 at 7pm at the Denver Coliseum. Grandview High School plays Highlands Ranch immediately afterward 8:30.

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