LOUISVILLE — It might have been Senior Night at Monarch High School, but it was an underclassman who stepped up big for the Coyotes on Tuesday against Boulder High.
Sophomore guard Ben Beauchamp led the MHS to a 60-55 win over the Panthers, scoring 23 points, 16 of which came in the first half. Senior Nathan Brooks added 15 points while hitting all eight of his free-throw attempts, and junior Alex Krason chipped in 14 for MoHi.
“It was just one of those nights. I was feeling it and my teammates kept getting me the ball,” Beauchamp said. “A lot of credit goes to those seniors, they played their hearts out tonight and I owe it all to them.”
Boulder (8-14, 5-10 Front Range League) trailed by only one with 56 seconds remaining after a Jack Huettel lay-up cut the Coyotes’ lead to 52-51. But Monarch (13-9, 10-5) went 8 for 8 from the free-throw line in the final minute to extend its lead beyond the Panthers’ grasp. BHS was led by junior Demetrius Kennnedy’s 17 points and senior Will Grubb’s 16 points and 10 rebounds.
“It says we came through in pressure situations,” said Monarch coach Ken Niven, referring to his team hitting all 12 of their final free throws in the fourth quarter. “It seems like every win we get is (as close as) this.”
The Panthers used a number of aggressive defensive schemes throughout the night to fluster Monarch and keep the game tight heading into the fourth, which MHS began leading 43-40.
Boulder scored four straight points to start the period, taking the lead on a Grubb put-back one minute into the quarter. The Coyotes would regain the advantage moments later, only to once again fall behind 47-46 on a Marc Krimstock 3-pointer with 5 minutes remaining.
But that proved to be the last lead of the night for the Panthers, as a Beauchamp lay-up with just under 4 to play made it 48-47 and gave the Coyotes an edge that they never surrendered.
The win could prove to be huge for MHS, who came into the night in a four-way tie for third place in the Front Range League. The Coyotes have one game remaining this week before Selection Sunday, when teams are seeded for the 5A State Tournament. And finishing in the top three of the league would have immense implications on Monarch’s route through the bracket.
“We’ve been talking about the difference between (finishing) third and sixth, which these two games are,” Niven said. “Legacy is just as crucial as this was.”
Boulder must now rebound and prepare for a huge regular season finale against cross-town rival and league champion Fairview on Friday night.
The Panthers entered Tuesday tied for eighth in the league, and a good showing against the Knights could largely determine whether or not BHS is awarded a spot in the postseason.
Monarch 60, Boulder 55
At Monarch HS
Kennedy 6 4-4 17, Charnik 0 0-0 0, Grubb 6 4-5 16, Vernon 0 2-2 2, Krimstock 2 0-0 6, Kurtz 0 2-2 2, King 2 1-4 5, Huettel 3 0-0 7. Totals 19 13-17 55.
Moon 0 1-2 1, Yen 2 0-0 5, Brooks 3 8-8 15, Billingsley 1 0-0 2, Krason 4 5-5 14, Beauchamp 7 5-7 23, Rawley 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 19-22 60.
Score by quarters:
Boulder 12 13 15 15 — 55
Monarch 21 6 16 17 — 60
3-point field goals — Boulder (4): Kennedy, Krimstock 2, Huettel; Monarch (7): Yen, Brooks, Krason, Beauchamp 4. Total fouls — Boulder 20, Monarch 19. Fouled out — King, Moon. Technical fouls — King.