BOULDER — The Fairview girls basketball team doesn’t often face an obstacle like it did on Tuesday night: a foe that plays defense as well as the Knights.
Clamping down with their usual half-court trapping zone, the Monarch Coyotes topped the Knights at their own game for a 55-34 triumph at FHS in a key Front Range League matchup.
The Class 5A second-ranked Coyotes forced just one more turnover than FHS, but held the Knights to 30-percent shooting (12 for 40) from the floor and allowed a combined nine points in the second and fourth quarters.
The Coyotes, meanwhile, became the first team to score more than 46 points against FHS all season thanks to another 1-2 punch night from Alexus Johnson and Jac Malcolm-Peck, who combined for 35 points.
“Every day in practice we work on defensive slides and just making sure that we play good position defense,” Monarch senior guard Ashton Davis said. “Lately we’ve been getting lots of fouls, so our goal this game was to go out and play good D without fouling. And I think we did a better job than we have been in our last games.”
Monarch, undefeated against in-state competition, improved to 7-3 overall and 3-0 in Front Range League play.
After falling behind 7-0 early, the Coyotes finished the first quarter on a 16-5 run. They led 28-17 by halftime, and FHS never got within single digits again. Any threat of a Knights comeback was halted when Monarch held them scoreless for the first 3:50 of the fourth quarter.
“Their zone made it a little tough for us at the start,” said FHS guard Sarah Kaufman, who led the Knights along with Sonya Ghosh with seven points apiece. “Just a lot of ball pressure, and they played good help defense.”
Kaufman said the Knights weren’t totally unpleased with their own defensive performance against the Front Range League favorites. The Coyotes simply had more firepower.
FHS had no answer for Johnson, especially in the first half when she scored 15 of her game-high 23 points. She also finished with 14 rebounds.
Malcolm-Peck, meanwhile, scored 12 points, and both she and Johnson proved dangerous from multiple spots on the court.
Davis added six points.
“We practiced all week on exploiting their weaknesses and penetrating the gaps, and I think that’s what we did today,” said Johnson, who was coming off of a 24-point, 12-rebound effort against Horizon.
Nine different players scored for FHS, but after Georgina Ryder’s 8-footer made it 20-17 Monarch midway through the second quarter, the Coyotes were in control the rest of the way.
“We had some good touches, got everybody involved,” MHS coach Gail Hook said. “I think individually we’ve got to be a little more consistent and get our veteran players into the flow of the offense. But we’ve always been a team where our defense dictates the tempo that we’re going to set on the offensive end.”
Monarch 55, Fairview 34
At Fairview HS
MONARCH (7-3, 3-0)
Dietz 1 0-0 3, Richmond 1 2-4 4, Stimac 1 0-0 3, Davis 3 0-0 6, Rohn 1 0-0 2, Malcolm-Peck 8 4-4 12, Eisler 0 0-0 0, O’Flannigan 0 2-2 2, Johnson 10 1-4 23. Totals 25 9-14 55.
FAIRVIEW (6-3, 2-1)
Davenport 0 0-0 0, Lai 0 1-2 1, Higgins 1 0-0 2, Kuosman 1 0-0 2, Yi 1 0-0 3, D’Amico 0 2-3 2, Hyde 1 4-6 6, Ghosh 3 0-0 7, Ryder 2 0-0 4, Kaufman 3 0-0 7. Totals 12 7-11 34.
Score by quarters:
Monarch 16 12 16 11 — 55
Fairview 12 5 13 4 — 34
3-point field goals — Monarch (4): Johnson 2, Dietz, Stimac; Fairview (3): Yi, Ghosh, Kaufman. Total fouls — Monarch 11, Fairview 10. Fouled out — None. Technicals — None.