LOUISVILLE — Over the years, especially recently, peers have helped tremendously in shaping Monarch senior Peyton Carter's basketball skill set. As far as drive and determination to become the best player on the court, it's been all her.

From waking up at 6 a.m. for two hour shootarounds with her father before team practices or open gyms, to joining two club teams in her eighth grade year (simultaneously, at that) for the sake of gaining experience, her passion for the sport has helped her blossom into a game-smart, decisive point guard that is leading a young Coyotes team to success this season.

Maybe that love for basketball developed watching her sister, former MoHi standout Alex Evans, excel to the point where she was a first-team all-state player and earned a college scholarship to CSU-Pueblo.

Perhaps it was from going to camps at CU — where Carter has verbally committed to after a big recruiting period — as a youth and enjoying the process itself.

Or maybe it was just that she was successful at the game from an early age as it was, just a natural talent.

Likely, it was all of that.

Second year coach Bill Bradley sees something in Carter that he's had the pleasure of seeing just a handful of times. At ThunderRidge, he coached Abby Waner and Emily Fox — two of Colorado's all-time greats — and even though he's only seen Carter for 18 months, that's enough to put her on that plane.


"She's now become the coach's dream, and that's what you want — you want to give the kids the tools and then see them take the tools and put them to use," Bradley said. "As a coach, I don't want to be the one calling all the plays from the side and making every move. I want my point guard leading that group on the floor, and that's a part of her growth and she's done that extremely well.

"It takes a lot of things to be great, and that includes (an above-average) work ethic. Peyton's got that. The separation is also her understanding of the game."

Evans understood the game, and Carter clearly took a lot of mental notes watching her sister. But she has always been surrounded by talent in both club and high school ball. Notably, Broomfield grad Brenna Chase (now at BYU) and Monarch teammate Raegen Rohn (now at Sacramento State) were teammates with Carter on the Boulder Rockies club team.

Though she played behind Rohn and had to bide her time to get the starting point guard role at MoHi, Carter said the hours spent in practice with Rohn were "invaluable".

"She was competitive and just so focused at practice and that made me always look up to her and just want to do the things she would do," Carter said. "When she did drills, she wanted to be first in line. When we had any competitions, she always wanted to win.

"When I was a freshman, my club coaches told me one of the things I needed to work on was defense and getting faster feet. Raegan was fast and could hit from anywhere, so I think she helped me become such a better defender, too. But she also taught me how to be tough."

That toughness translated into leading Monarch in scoring as a junior at 15.2 points per game, and Carter took off during this summer's recruiting period and has continued that confident play as a senior.

In August, after helping the Rockies to a national tournament championship in Washington D.C., Carter was featured in Dan Olson's ESPNW column "Six basketball prospects who lit up the July recruiting trail" in which Olson dubbed Carter a "cerebral leader on the floor."

Her summer was memorable in that the Rockies beat Cy Fair (who was the nation's No. 1 club team at the time), but also because the Division I college offers really started to roll in.

She considered a couple of schools including William & Mary and Lehigh but in the end dedicated herself to CU in the backyard where she could remain close to family.

"At CU, I feel like basketball is so important but so are academics and that was one of the biggest things," Carter said, adding she wanted to go to med school in the future, too. "After visiting Virginia and Pennsylvania, I just realized how little I'd see my family and I just didn't want that. I felt at home at Colorado and am excited to play in the Pac-12."

Her college plans in order, Carter has put her focus on being a leader in every sense of the word for MoHi, which has just one other senior, three sophomores and two freshmen on the varsity roster.

That other senior, Jasmine Jeffcoat (a fellow Rockie and headed to Missouri-Kansas City), is also having a great season as Monarch checks in at 7-5 after falling 38-32 Wednesday against No. 4 Horizon. Carter, though, is pouring in 16.2 points a game to once again pace the squad.

"We've had success this year with only six kids playing, and that tells you a lot about your point guard if you're able to see that type of success," Bradley added.

Adam Dunivan: dunivana@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/AdamDunivan24