LOUISVILLE -- The Monarch girls surrendered a 16-point lead to Fossil Ridge on the basketball court Tuesday night before regrouping in overtime to claim an important 73-66 win in the Class 5A Front Range League.
Senior Ellie Dietz scored 29 points, including a clutch bucket with six seconds left in regulation that tied things up and forced the extra period. She hit five 3-pointers and combined with fellow seniors Brenna Stimac and Jordan Eisler to will the Coyotes to victory after their spirits had sunk when they let Fossil Ridge back in the game.
"It was way too easy for them to get back," Dietz said. "We were playing our hardest throughout the game and we kind of threw that away, but going into overtime you have to realize it's a whole different game and it was tied and we just had to do it."
Dietz hit three of her 3-pointers in the first quarter, propelling Monarch to 26 points in the first 8 minutes. But the Coyotes were sloppy in the second quarter and went 4 minutes, 24 seconds at one point without scoring.
Coach Chris Lewis struggled to get his team back on track. Monarch played almost 9 minutes at the end of the first half and beginning of the second and scored just eight points. It was the perfect opening for Fossil Ridge, which took full advantage behind senior Gabby Smith, who finished with 19 points.
"That's been our whole season," Lewis said. "We've struggled with that in quite a few games and tonight I thought the girls handled that really well. In games past, we've kind of got frantic in situations like that, but tonight I think we trusted ourselves and trusted the team."
Fossil Ridge tied the game late in the third quarter and eventually led by three at one point in the fourth quarter, but Monarch fought back and managed to force overtime with Dietz scoring seven of the final eight points in the last 2:28.
The overtime was all Monarch. Stimac and Dietz hit a 3-pointer each to give the Coyotes some breathing room and disrupt the rhythm Fossil Ridge had enjoyed.
"Instead of having one set player that we rely on, we have two or three that we can go to and it's playing to our advantage right now," Dietz said.
Both teams entered Tuesday's game in a three-way tie for sixth place in the Front Range League, and Monarch pulled into a tie for fourth with the victory. Earning a win was important for both teams when it comes to positioning for a better seed in the state playoffs. It's unlikely either is going to catch Poudre, which sits atop the standings at 9-0.
There were a lot of questions surrounding the Monarch girls at the beginning of the season after losing so many key contributors and leaders from last season's team that played for the state title. It has taken some time, but Lewis said this group might be figuring out what it does well and what it doesn't and playing to its strengths more often.
"We've kind of been in a slump the past few games and I was glad we got a win tonight," Lewis said. "We've been working on things in practice to help us win games like this. I think if we can play in games like this, good things will happen in the future."
Monarch 73, Fossil Ridge 66
At Monarch HS
FOSSIL RIDGE (10-6, 4-5)
Williams 0 0-0 0, Koree Willer 1 2-2 4, Gefron 0 0-0 0, Cutler 3 0-0 6, Smith 5 8-10 19, Murphy 2 2-4 6, Roeling 5 5-6 15, Kellie Willer 2 2-2 6, Hayes 4 0-0 9. Totals 15 21-24 66.
MONARCH (9-7, 5-4)
Dietz 10 4-7 29, Stimac 2 0-0 6, Rohn 4 0-0 8, Keatley 1 0-0 2, Anthony 1 1-2 3, Eisler 4 4-5 14, O'Flannigan 4 3-6 11, Mendicino 0 0-0 0, Cendali 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 12-20 73.
Score by quarters:
Fossil Ridge 12 16 16 17 5 -- 66
Monarch 26 10 7 18 12 -- 73
3-point field goals -- Fossil Ridge (2): Smith, Hayes; Monarch (9): Dietz 5, Stimac 2, Eisler 2. Total fouls -- Fossil Ridge 18, Monarch 22. Fouled out -- Monarch: Rohn, O'Flannigan. Technical fouls -- Fossil Ridge coach.