LOUISVILLE — With the state tournament right around the proverbial corner, peaking at the right time is of the utmost importance.
On Tuesday night, both Broomfield and Monarch were in a very similar Front Range League boat and both knew that a win would go a long way toward improving their postseason status.
It was the host Coyotes that persevered in what was a strange flowing game, ultimately outlasting the Eagles 59-49 to improve to 4-2 in the top-heavy league. Broomfield, with a very tough upcoming schedule — including Fossil Ridge on Friday — lost its second straight league game and slips to 4-2.
"It was huge and it keeps us in the race," said Monarch coach Ken Niven, who dropped the first game of the season against his alma mater. "The league champion could have two losses most likely, so we are still in the chase and we still have a shot. We didn't play very good against them in our previous game and then to come out here and defend this well is big."
Broomfield coach Terrence Dunn noted that his team lacked energy.
"We were lacking, and we are right in the crucible of our season. We have a six game stretch that is pretty brutal and we are battling colds just like everybody else, and we just didn't have any energy tonight. Monarch just did a great job of knocking down the shots they got and making free throws down the stretch," he added.
With the game knotted 43-43 heading to the final eight minutes, momentum quickly swung the Coyotes way. On a night when Niven's team knocked down nine 3-pointers, none where bigger than the two by T.J. Jones and Ernesto Chavez at the start of the fourth that put a tired-looking Broomfield in an inescapable hole.
Nate Lehnerz's three-point shot with three minutes to play made it 49-46, but that would be about it for the Eagles, who for the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter were just 1-of-4 from the field and committed four turnovers.
Niven went to his quicker three-guard line-up, and while the pace wasn't electric, it did cause problems.
"My bigs played really well too," Niven said. "Ernesto comes off the bench, not because he is not one of our five best players, but because we want to have that line-up late. I can keep those guys fresh and it works out a lot better."
The Coyotes offensive attack was as balanced as usual. Chavez led the way with 15 points, including a four-for-four from the foul line down the stretch. Steve Hoban and Tyler Trinh each had 11 points, and Jones finished with 10.
"I was really pleased with us defensively because we were doing some things we haven't been doing and I haven't really been pleased with what we've been doing," said Niven, whose team is 10-7 overall. "Maybe we are starting to come along defensively, I would hope. We definitely made some strides tonight."
Broomfield (12-4), which showed flashes of brilliance in the first half, simply ran out of gas late and shots that were dropping in the first rimmed out in the second. Kyle Rynearson was the only Eagles player in double figures with 12. Michael Georgiton came off the bench to score nine second-half points.
"We've been digging ourselves out of holes too much, especially in the last four games," said Dunn, whose team beat Holy Family in overtime on Saturday. "We need to figure out how to get leads and play with leads."
Monarch 59, Broomfield 49
BROOMFIELD (12-4, 4-2)
Chad Croell 2 2-2 6, Breyton Briggs 0 0-0 0, Sam Foster 1 1-2 4, Brody Wristen 1 0-0 3, Kyle Rynearson 4 4-4 12, Nate Lehnerz 3 1-2 9, Jack Burgesser 0 0-0 0, Michael Georgiton 4 0-0 9, Devon Martinez 3 0-0 6. Totals 18 8-10 49.
MONARCH (10-7, 4-2)
T.J. Jones 4 1-2 10, Ernesto Chavez 5 4-4 15, Mac Rowen 2 0-0 6, Clark Andrews 0 0-0 0, Garrett Duffy 1 0-0 2, Matt Behrens 0 0-0 0, Isaac Green 2 0-0 4, Steve Hoban 3 3-4 11, Tyler Trinh 4 0-0 11. Totals 21 8-10 59..
Score by quarters:Broomfield 11 19 13 6 — 49
Monarch 9 19 15 16 — 59
3-point field goals — Broomfield (5): Lehnerz 2, Foster, Wristen, Georgiton; Monarch (9): Trinh 3, Rowen 2, Hoban 2, Jones, Chavez. Total fouls — Broomfield 13, Monarch 12. Fouled out — Lehnerz; Duffy.