LOUISVILLE — Monarch sophomore Chelin Isaacson's drive to the hoop is so silky-smooth the team has a name for it: "The Slither".
She used it to perfection Tuesday night.
Isaacson consistently squiggled through cracks in the defense en route to easy lay-ins as she and fellow-sophomore Anna Trujillo set career-highs in points in the Coyotes' 49-38 win over Rocky Mountain.
For stat purposes, the BoCoPreps.com game log had Isaacson with 14 and Trujillo with 11, while the scorebook after the game had Isaacson with 12 and Trujillo with 13. Either way you count it, the pair of lesser-known names shined on this night with Monarch star Emerson Herrmann on and off the bench in foul trouble.
Coming in, Isaacson averaged 4.1 points while Trujillo was at 2.5 a night. Trujillo's previous career-high in points was eight while Isaacson's was seven.
"That's what we need," Monarch coach Gail Hook said. "We need some balance scoring. We can't rely on just Emerson. We need a little bit more balance scoring and we need those players to step up. We just hope we can continue to have that from now to the rest of the season."
Monarch (14-4, 4-3 5A Front Range League) continued its best start to a season since Hook stepped away from the program a little more than three years ago. And now that she's back, the Coyotes are back in the thick of a postseason chase and are hanging around in the top half of the league standings.
The Coyotes came into Tuesday tied for 14th in the RPI standings and are now just three games behind Fossil Ridge in league.
Safe to say, it's a far cry from the team's four-win campaign from last season.
"It's been great," said Herrmann, who finished with 11 points. "I'm having the time of my life right now. Just getting all these wins and like possibly getting that top 16-seed, and possibly hosting that playoff game, there's nothing I could ask for that's better than that for my senior season."
In the opening half, Trujillo had six points as part of a 13-2 run that put Monarch ahead 22-6 early in the second quarter. With Herrmann on the bench, Isaacson then went to work on the drive — proving lethal with a move to the rim that looked part Manu Ginobili Eurostep, part Nikola Jokic soft touch.
Whatever it was, the Lobos defenders had no answer for it.
Trujillo and Isaacson each finished the half with eight points and Herrmann added seven to give the Coyotes a 28-13 lead at the break. The lead grew to as many as 19 in the third before the Lobos (9-9, 4-3) made a mini-run in the final minutes.
"Before the game, coach said we need to take it to the hole and score more," Isaacson said. "And when Emerson got into foul trouble, we really decided to do that."
Time will tell if the sophomores' breakout game will lead to more nights like this. Asked if the confidence level goes up after busting out "The Slither" with such effectiveness, Isaacson, like her move, was swift and emphatic.
"Yes, definitely," she smiled.
Brent W. New: firstname.lastname@example.org and @brentwnew
Monarch 49, Rocky Mountain 38
At Monarch HS
ROCKY MOUNTAIN (9-9, 4-3)
Brook 4 2-7 10, Bowes 0 0-0 0, Himmelberg 0 0-0 0, Roach 0 0-1 0, Norby 0 0-0 0, Hand 3 1-2 7, Armendariz-Lopez 1 0-0 3, Eccher 2 1-2 7, Gilbertson 4 0-0 11, Warner 0 0-0 0. Team 14 4-12 38.
MONARCH (14-4, 4-3)
Thrower 0 0-0 0, Russo 1 2-2 4, Reading 2 0-0 5, Schmanski 0 0-0 0, Trujillo 3 5-6 11, Butler 1 0-0 2, Taht 1 0-0 2, Isaacson 7 0-0 14, Carter 0 0-0 0, Herrmann 5 1-2 11, E. Kennie 0 0-0 0, A. Kennie 0 0-0 0. Team 20 8-10 49.
Score by quarters:Rocky Mountain 6 7 11 14 — 38
3-point field goals — Rocky Mountain (6): Gilbertson 3, Eccher 2, Armendariz-Lopez; Monarch (1): Reading. Total fouls — Rocky Mountain 11, Monarch 15. Fouled out — No players fouled out. Technical fouls — No technical fouls.