BOULDER — It's never too early in a season to wear your heart on your sleeve.
For the Fairview girls basketball team after a 55-46 loss to ranked Ralston Valley on Saturday night, the emotions were high for senior Knight Ashley Panem and her teammates. With the goals FHS has in mind, the results of the Fairview Festival finale weren't near what they wanted overall.
The Mustangs, ranked No. 6 in the preseason CHSAANow.com poll and who had beat No. 2 Cherry Creek on Thursday, put their collective foot down on Fairview in the final few minutes before halftime and then well into the third quarter on their way to the Festival title.
After a 3-0 start to the season, and with Regis Jesuit coming to FHS next Wednesday, Saturday's loss proved an enlightening moment for No. 9 Fairview.
"This game was a big test to see what team we want to be, and I think we have the ability to be right up there this year," said Panem, who scored 12 points in the game. "Tonight I think our downfall was we let them have a lot of offensive rebounds and putbacks, and toward the end of the second quarter we made some dumb decisions that allowed them to run the floor."
With a lot of length across the board, Ralston Valley (3-1) is a matchup nightmare. The Mustangs do very little in the way of substituting, and their starting five players are always in the mood to rebound and push the action down the court.
That combination led to a first half that saw RVHS put up an impressive 36 shots, making 14 of those attempts. But at the point FHS had the fresh legs, they stuck right with their opponents and even as late as 14 minutes in had a 26-25 lead with big performances coming from Izzy Munson (all six of her points in the second quarter) and Faith Anderson (six points in the first half).
However, a late 7-0 run for the Mustangs keyed by freshman Sydney Bevington helped the visitors to a 32-26 lead at the break, and the Mustangs were able to jump on FHS starting the third quarter in transition and on the offensive glass.
Ralston Valley was up 38-26 by the 5:20 mark of the third, and Fairview went another 1:20 before scoring its first bucket of the frame. The Knights trailed 49-34 going to the final quarter.
Fairview cut the RV lead back down to single digits on a couple of occasions but could not find the run to make it a game again. The Knights made just seven of 29 field goal attempts after halftime.
"I think some of those bad decisions came because we were tired out," Panem said. "We'll get another big test this week with Regis."
"They do a good job of things, and they went into a triangle-and-two defense that I was hoping we would be a little more patient against," Fairview coach Rod Beauchamp added. "There was just a little impatience there where we were taking more contested shots, and they were off to the races on that run."
Denali Pinto had 13 points and Adaya Richmond added seven for the Knights. Bevington finished with 13 points and three other players reached double figures for the balanced Mustangs.
Ralston Valley 55, Fairview 46
At Fairview HS
RALSTON VALLEY (3-1)
DeHerrera 1 0-0 2, Young 0 0-0 0, Van Sickle 3 0-2 8, Byrne 5 0-0 11, Nichols 5 1-3 11, Capley 5 0-0 10, Bevington 5 2-7 13. Totals 24 3-12 55.
Richmond 3 0-0 7, Pinto 4 4-4 13, Munson 3 0-2 6, Konstanapolous 1 0-0 2, Panem 4 2-2 12, Lampert 0 0-0 0, Anderson 1 4-6 6. Totals 16 10-14 46.
Score by quarters:Ralston Valley 1319176—55
3-point field goals — Ralston Valley (4): Van Sickle 2, Byrne, Bevington; Fairview (4): Panem 2, Richmond, Pinto. Fouled out — Anderson. Technical fouls — Ralston Valley bench (book).