LOUISVILLE — Like a glance at the Flatirons from Davidson Mesa, there were some out there who saw the possibility of a Fairview girls basketball upset of Monarch on Friday night from miles away.
Knights head coach Rod Beauchamp, though, wasn't so optimistic this week — not by a long shot.
But thanks in part to a deadly perimeter game that led to 11 timely 3-pointers as a team, as well as solid defense and rebounding, Fairview knocked its tough-to-beat Coyotes counterparts out of the Class 5A playoffs with a 59-51 victory at MoHi.
"I was nervous, that's for sure. (Monarch coach) Bill Bradley is one of the best coaches in the state, to play at Monarch's gym and to beat them twice ... I kind of thought the odds were against us to be quite honest," Beauchamp said. "But I knew our girls would play hard."
Much like the first time the teams met, also at Monarch, it was physical from the start and both coaches had to try and calm their respective teams from an unusual amount of offensive fouls and loose-ball fouls called in the game.
That said, there was still plenty of moments where the pace flowed well — and there were times when the No. 23-seeded Knights simply got into a groove from beyond the arc.
Though Panem hit six treys in the game, including four in the second quarter alone, for Fairview (15-10) that meant more than just the triple threat Panem, Denali Pinto and Grace O'Neill — who burned the Coyotes for 40 points back on Jan. 17 (an FHS win the Knights eventually had to forfeit).
Freshman Izzy Munson hit a pair of first quarter 3-pointers off the bench, and senior starter Sydney Rios hit a couple in the third quarter that were influential in keeping Monarch at bay after the Knights had taken a 34-24 halftime lead.
Rios she had been well prepared for scenarios where she would be open.
"We knew that since they of our triple threat — everyone does — they were going to guard them really hard so (Beau) had the rest of us really work on our shots thinking we'd get some opportunities," Rios said. "Luckily, those girls are all team players so they did a good job of getting it to the open shooters. It was awesome to have that chance."
"We talked to Sydney and just told her that she had to be a threat and had to be confident with her shot," Beauchamp said. "We figured they were going to leave her open a couple times and they did. She hit some, Izzy hit some, Ashley got hot for awhile. The girls that contribute in a lot of other ways hit the shots tonight."
Monarch, the No. 10 seed that had earned a first-round bye, was not going to disappear without a fight. Trailing by as much as 11 (39-28) with 5 minutes, 3 seconds to go in the third, Monarch out-scored Fairview 21-10 over the next 9:30 of play.
A reverse layup by Jasmine Jeffcoat with 3:36 remaining tied the game at 49-49, but the Coyotes had three big turnovers in the remaining minutes that hindered their chances of keeping up. Also, Monarch (16-7) went silent from the floor without a field goal in that same time frame.
Peyton Carter's two free throws were the Coyotes' only two points after MHS had tied it, while Panem drained two of her 3-pointers at the 2:49 and 2:07 marks, respectively, that were essentially the daggers.
Panem led the team with 18 points, but she was surrounded by contributions all over the place including O'Neill (14), Pinto (8), Munson (8), Rios (7) and Kelsey Webster (4).
The Coyotes overall had scoring balance, too, as sophomore Emerson Herrmann led Monarch with 15 points, Carter 11 and Jeffcoat nine. Nicole Reading also had nine and Liz Deitsch put in seven.
However, experience seemed to favor FHS in crunch time.
"I know those girls have been playing together for the past three years ... so they know each other's little things and they play well off each other," said Carter, a CU Buffaloes recruit who finished a brilliant career. "It was an advantage."
Fairview advances to play No. 7 Doherty Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Sweet 16.
Fairview 59, Monarch 51
At Monarch HS
Rios 2 1-3 7, Pinto 3 2-2 8, Munson 2 2-2 8, O'Neill 4 5-7 14, Protsko 0 0-0 0, Panem 6 0-0 18, Lampert 0 0-0 0, Webster 0 4-4 4. Totals 17 14-18 59.
Morgan 0 0-0 0, Carter 2 7-8 11, Reading 3 0-0 9, Deitsch 3 1-4 7, That 0 0-0 0, Herrmann 6 3-4 15, Jeffcoat 4 1-1 9. Totals 18 12-17 51.
Score by quarters:Fairview 9 25 10 15 — 59
Monarch 12 12 18 9 — 51
3-point field goals — Fairview (11): Panem 6, Rios 2, Munson 2, O'Neill; Monarch (3): Reading. Fouled out — Panem, Jeffcoat.