LOUISVILLE — Bracket makers have a real good sense of humor.
Monarch coach Bill Bradley knows it too.
He knew that if his Coyotes passed their Class 5A first round test against Denver East in the Alice Barron Region, they would be headed back to his old stomping grounds at ThunderRidge.
Monarch, seeded No. 7, made their early onslaught hold up against the 10th-seeded Angels for a 60-47 victory.
"That's the first thing I said, don't they have a good sense of humor, and (ThunderRidge coach) Matt (Asik) told me before the season that they were going to have us lined up against each other," said Bradley, whose former team sports a 20-3 record. "Its about these 10 girls. It's not about coach Bradley or coach Asik or ThunderRidge.
"It's 10 girls against 12 girls and we have to prepare the same way, nothing changes for us."
The second round game will be on Friday night in Highlands Ranch. The time has yet to be determined.
On Tuesday night against East, Monarch's smothering defense set the tone from the opening tap. The Coyotes forced 21 first half turnovers and built a 36-13 lead on the Angels.
Monarch (14-10) spread the wealth offensively in the opening half as well. Junior guard Peyton Carter, who was facing double and triple teams all night, was able to use her speed, drive and kick for open looks to her teammates.
Six different Coyotes scored in the opening 16 minutes, but Carter — who would finish with a game-high 21 points — lead everyone with 17 before the break.
"I told our kids that if we make it a clean and good looking game, that we would be okay," said Bradley, who won three state title at ThunderRidge, most recently in 2005.
The Angels never found their range offensively and leading scorer R'manie Pulling missed her first 15 shots. The Angels rallied a bit in the fourth quarter, turning over a clearly tiring Carter several times, and making the score a little closer than it really was.
Still Bradley was proud of his floor leader.
"She has grown all year long, she has gotten better and she is just playing with so much confidence," he said. "New coach, year and new everything and it took us a little while to hit our stride and play what we consider good basketball.
"Peyton is just fun to watch."
The Coyotes, who got nine points from Olivia Burgener and eight from Jasmine Jeffcoat, will head to ThunderRidge winners of six of their last seven games.
East was led by Pulling's 14 points — 12 of which came in fourth quarter garbage time.
Monarch 60, Denver East 47
DENVER EAST (11-13)
Carolyn Wakefield 0 0-2 0, Keyanna Jackson 0 2-2 2, Kayondra Reaves 1 0-0 2, Shaherazaad Luqman-Williams 3 0-0 6, Nalaya Wall 1 1-2 3, Aubryonne Hollowell 0 0-0 0, Isabel Ward 0 0-0 0, Shauna Maes-Ortegon 3 2-2 8, R'Manie Pulling 5 2-2 14, Micaela Kurtz 0 0-0 0, Damika Finley-Ponds 4 4-4 12, Niat Geberkidane 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 11-14 47.
Charlotte Crist 2 2-2 6, Peyton Carter 5 8-15 21, Nicole Reading 0 0-0 0, Macy Scott 3 0-0 6, Lina Yesaulov 3 0-0 6, Olivia Burgener 3 0-0 9, Emerson Herrmann 1 0-0 2, Kellie Beswick 1 0-1 2, Jasmine Jeffcoat 3 2-2 8. Totals 21 12-20 60.
Score by quarters:Denver East 6 7 9 25 — 47
Monarch 16 20 14 10 — 60
3-point field goals — Denver East (2): Pulling 2; Monarch (6): Carter 3, Burgener 3. Total fouls — Denver East 21; Monarch 17. Fouled out — Wall; Jeffcoat.