LAFAYETTE — In the frantic possession, the ball was going everywhere but in the basket.
The Monarch girls basketball team kept shooting, kept missing, but somehow managed to keep the possession alive with Centaurus defenders swarming about.
In swept senior guard Ellie Dietz, who grabbed a rebound and made an easy put-back. The bucket broke a tie in the final minute and stood up as the winner in the Coyotes’ gutsy 42-38 road win at 4A No. 6 Centaurus.
“I just had to stay in there,” Dietz said. “We’d shoot the ball and five people would box out, but the other team was so focused on everyone else. I was just wide open and I got a little bunny.”
Dietz was a member of last season’s 5A runner-up squad, but the Coyotes return only one starter from that team. That’s Jordan Eisler, and she’s likely out until after the break with an injured foot.
So the Coyotes (2-2) had zero starters from last season and have a new coach in Chris Lewis, who is taking over while Gail Hook takes a one-year leave of absence. Despite the turnover, Monarch managed to pull out a nervy win against a quality opponent.
“It’s huge to win against an in-city rival like this,” Lewis said. “I know they’re 4A, but Centaurus is a tough team. The team really pulled us through and our senior leadership helped us win this game.”
After Dietz’s basket, Monarch forced Centaurus into an empty possession and took over possession with 27 seconds to go after a timeout. Perplexingly, Centaurus didn’t foul. The Warriors (5-2) let Monarch dribble out the clock and allowed Raegan Rohn to add a basket at the buzzer.
“I should have called timeout and told them exactly what I wanted,” Centaurus coach Jeff Jackson said. “It was loud. Both crowds were spirited and I don’t think they could hear me most of the night. That one falls on me.”
Centaurus, which got a stellar 14-point, eight-rebound effort from guard Anna Hubbell, was trying to knock off 5A’s top two teams from last season in succession. The Warriors defeated reigning champ Legacy 37-36 on Saturday.
Warriors players didn’t blame their coach for the late snafu.
“It wasn’t his fault. We win and lose as a team,” senior center Gianna Manfredini said. “There were so many people here, and mentally we just broke down at that point. We should have listened to our coach and fouled.”
Manfredini had one of her finest games as a Warrior, notching 10 points and five rebounds while playing a solid floor game.
“I always work hard on defense and that’s my number one thing,” Manfredini said. “But this year I need to look to score more, because I’ve always been a little timid on offense.”
Monarch didn’t register a double-digit scorer but had eight players contribute points. Bridget Anthony corralled a game-high 11 rebounds.
The action leading up to Dietz’s winner was equally compelling. A three-point play by Hubbell put Centaurus up 35-32 midway through the fourth. But Monarch countered with back-to-back 3-pointers by Rohn and Brenna Stimac to reclaim the lead 38-35.
The Warriors countered with Lyndie Puckett’s second 3-pointer of the night to forge another tie. Then it was Dietz’s turn.
“We preach that hustle is going to win us basketball games,” Lewis said. “It paid off there at the end.”
Sisters Midori Patterson (Centaurus) and Emiko Patterson (Monarch) came off the bench for each squad. See more about the sisters squaring off at BoCoPreps.com/bloggers.
Follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulWillis21
MONARCH 42, CENTAURUS 38
At Centaurus HS
Dietz 3 2-4 6, Stimac 3 2-3 9, Rohn 3 1-2 8, Anthony 0 1-2 1, O’Flannigan 3 2-2 8, E. Patterson 0 0-0 0, Cendali 2 0-0 5, Keatley 0 1-2 1, Scott 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 9-15 42.
Pucektt 2 1-2 7, Langer 1 0-0 2, Anderson 1 0-0 2, Manfredini 4 2-5 10, Hubbell 6 2-3 14, M. Patterson 0 0-1 0, Dondelinger 0 3-4 3, Esler 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 8-14 38.
Score by quarters:
Monarch 8 10 12 12 — 42
Centaurus 6 12 12 8 — 38
3-point field goals — Monarch (3): Rohn, Stimac, Cendali; Centaurus (2): Puckett 2. Total fouls — Monarch 18, Centaurus 12. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.