BOULDER —Relegated to the bench late in a big victory, Fairview boys basketball stars Mark Dolan and Jalen Page enjoyed most of the second half as fans watching their young teammates take their turn in the spotlight.
"I got so excited seeing them shoot free throws or whatever," Page said. "It was just great to see them out there tonight."
Dolan scored 23 points, Page added 15, and Fairview played its entire varsity bench in a 62-34 win over Monarch on Friday night.
Sophomore TJ Williams tied a season high with seven points and Mark O'Neill added six.
Up by 35 in the third quarter, Fairview (12-4, 5-0 5A Front Range League) sat its starters and gave minutes to its bench players. As the student section paraded onto the court at the sound of final buzzer, Fairview finished with eight players in the scoring column and coach Patrick Burke said afterward he played all 14 players who were suited up.
"In a game like this it's such a fun crowd, such a fun environment, and to get the opportunity to have everybody experience that, that's what high school sports is all about," Burke said. "We think we have a deep bench and we think we've got some depth with our guys. We know we have the ability to go deeper than a lot of teams we play in conference."
Friday once again proved that Fairview will be tough to knock out of the top spot of the Class 5A Front Range League standings — especially if its offense continues to roll like it has through its first 16 games this season. With just under 70 points per game on average, the Knights have multiple guys who can fill up the stat sheet, and not just the usual suspects in Dolan and Page.
Sophomore Greysen Carter scored just two points Friday but has been a double-digit guy in 13 of the 16 games this season. And Fairview expects to get back injured starter Henry Blackburn, who has proven he can be a volume scorer when needed.
But as good as the offense has been — and could become in the second half of the season — the defensive intensity the Knights showed against Monarch (4-10, 1-3) might be crucial if they hope to have an extended stay in the state tournament.
"Defense is our staple, that's what we lean on," Burke said.
Fairview, ranked No. 9 in this week's CHSAANow poll, held Monarch scoreless over a span of 8 minutes and 4 seconds in the opening half and led 34-12 at the break. Williams swished a 3 at the end of the first quarter and Page scored eight points as part of a 17-0 run for the Knights.
Ethan Henderson finally ended the drought with a 3 in front of the Fairview student section with 50 seconds left in the half for the Coyotes, who will have to regroup quickly for an afternoon tip against Heritage on Saturday.
In the second half, the Knights rolled in fresh faces and subbed out the regulars. Dolan, the team's scoring leader, didn't seem to mind the view from the bench on this night.
"I think it's really cool watching them play and just growing up," Dolan said.
Brent W. New: email@example.com and @brentwnew
Fairview 62, Monarch 34
At Fairview HS
MONARCH (4-1, 1-3)
Alexander 2 0-0 4, Cadichon 1 0-0 2, Davis 2 0-0 5, M. Chen 0 0-0 0, Germain 0 0-0 0, Covington 0 2-2 2, Stewart 0 2-2 2, Grigsby 2 1-1 5, Z. Chen 0 3-3 3, Henderson 4 1-1 11, Gerhardt 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 9-9 34.
FAIRVIEW (12-4, 5-0)
Monette 2 0-0 5, Atkinson 1 1-3 3, Page 5 2-2 15, O'Neill 2 1-1 6, Gordon 0 1-2 1, Edwards 0 0-0 0, Dolan 8 2-2 23, Nichols 0 0-0 0, Carter 1 0-0 2, Williams 3 0-0 7, Pinto 0 0-0 0, Gann 0 0-0 0. Team 22 7-10 62.
Score by quarters:Monarch 9 3 7 15 — 34
3-point field goals — Monarch (3): Henderson 2, Davis 1; Fairview (11): Dolan 5, Page 3, Monette, O'Neill, Williams. Total fouls — Monarch 16, Fairview 15. Fouled out —No players fouled out. Technical fouls — No technical fouls.