LOUISVILLE — This was looking mighty familiar. Monarch gets a late stop, then holds its breath as an opponent tries a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer before celebrating.
This time, Lake Reed spoiled the comparison.
The Poudre senior’s 3-pointer went in at the buzzer, forcing overtime on the Coyotes’ home floor. Monarch had to endure one more Impalas’ 3-point attempt at the overtime buzzer before escaping with a 57-54 win in yet another down-to-the-wire 5A Front Range League game.
“We were scared there for a minute. They’re a solid team, like every team in the league,” Coyotes junior Ben Beauchamp said. “Lake, he hit a great shot at the end. We contested it, but he’s just a great player.”
Monarch (11-2, 6-0) remained the league’s only unbeaten team in a game that was, at times, eerily similar to they Coyotes’ 66-64 win against Fairview on Friday night.
This one looked to be over in regulation, even though Reed’s old-fashioned 3-point play gave Poudre a 43-42 lead with 59 seconds to go. Jay MacIntyre put the Coyotes back ahead with a driving layup with 27 seconds to go, and Beauchamp drilled two foul shots with 6.9 seconds remaining to make it 46-43.
Reed drove the length of the court, and despite pressure from Beauchamp and Alex Krason, nailed a long 3 from in front of his team’s bench.
“I was confident, even though I hadn’t been shooting well all game,” said Reed, whose 23 points were about two shy of his average. “The second I let go of it, I felt it going in.”
Beauchamp (team-best 20 points) and MacIntyre (16) accounted for 10 of the Coyotes’ 11 overtime points. But like the Fairview game, Monarch could have breathed easier by making a few foul shots. The Coyotes made only 5 of 11 in the extra session, which allowed Poudre (6-7, 2-4) one last opportunity.
With Monarch making certain anyone but Reed got the ball, Tucker Clay’s lengthy attempt at the OT buzzer fell way short.
“We were trying to double Lake and not let him touch it, and we did a nice job,” Monarch coach Ken Niven said. “They couldn’t get him the ball and we forced a long, long 3. It was just another game where we executed defensively down the stretch.”
The contest flew by at a brisk pace, with Monarch committing only six fouls. Poudre is accustomed to being entrenched in tight games, having won and lost contests by a single point this season.
The Impalas appeared to be taking command in the second quarter when they jumped ahead by eight, but a Krason steal and two-handed dunk helped Monarch shave the deficit to 27-26 by halftime.
“I thought we came out with a lack of urgency and intensity, and it really showed,” Niven said.
Niven said he usually “leaves alone” foul-shooting issues, other than to practice them as intensely as usual, perhaps fearing that bringing attention to the matter could have psychological ramifications. Beauchamp and MacIntyre (combined 4 for 9 in OT) are both standout free-throw shooters, so perhaps it’s a matter of time.
Beauchamp went 13 for 13 in a game last season and MacIntyre said he shot “80 to 82 percent” from the line at his former school of Valley Christian (Calif.).
“Every free throw is important, and if we miss one like I did at the end of the game, it gives them a chance to tie,” Beauchamp said. “We can’t have that.”
On a positive note, the Coyotes left the league’s leading scorer impressed.
“They work you till you fall asleep, and then they exploit your mistakes,” Reed said. “That’s a good team, and I’m not really surprised that they’re in first place.”
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Monarch 57, Poudre 54
At Monarch HS
POUDRE (6-7, 2-4)
Casey 0 2-2 2, McFall 2 0-0 5, Clay 6 0-0 15, Lindquist 4 1-2 9, Reed 8 4-4 23, Lang 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 7-8 54.
MONARCH (11-2, 6-0)
Billingsley 2 2-2 7, Krason 3 2-2 10, Lawson 0 1-2 1, Beauchamp 7 5-7 20, MacIntyre 7 2-5 16, Weaver 0 2-2 2, Fredricksmeyer 0 0-1 0, Stewart 0 0-0 0, Kirkman 0 1-2 1. Totals 19 15-23 57.
Score by quarters:
Poudre 16 11 9 10 8 — 54
Monarch 12 14 13 7 11 — 57
3-point field goals — Poudre (7): Reed 3, Clay 3, McFall; Monarch (3): Krason 2, Beauchamp. Total fouls — Poudre 17, Monarch 6. Fouled out — Lindquist. Technical fouls — None.