LOUISVILLE — The Monarch girls basketball team had plenty of extra incentive to play well on Thursday night.
Besides having the usual desire to win, it was senior night at MHS. And Gail Hook, the Coyotes’ longtime head coach who is taking a leave of absence this year, was watching the team for just the fifth time this season.
In addition, two of the most influential people in the history of women’s basketball in Colorado, Ceal Barry and Carol Callan, were also on hand, helping give a special tribute to Hook.
With all that going on, Monarch closed the regular season on a high note, never trailing in avenging last month’s 17-point loss to Fairview with a 60-46 victory.
“It was really important (to win), especially because we lost to them the first time,” said MHS senior Brenna Stimac, who hit three 3-pointers and scored 12 points. “We had a lot of motivation to come back and beat them, especially on senior night.”
Monarch’s run of consecutive Front Range League titles ended at four as the Coyotes and Fairview tied for sixth place in the 12-team FRL by matching both league (9-7) and overall (13-10) records. And now both squads will wait for the 48-team 5A state bracket to be unveiled on Sunday, then they’ll open the playoffs on Tuesday.
On Thursday, Monarch used 9-0 and 11-0 runs in the first half to build a big lead.
“I think they came out and had that ‘We’re not going to lose’ attitude when we started the game,” said Chris Lewis, MHS’ head coach this season with Hook on leave. “They were really pumped up and psyched because of what happened (against FHS) earlier in the season. They came out of the gate ready to go and we didn’t let up.”
And with Fairview’s leading scorer for the season, Sarah Kaufman, being a little under the weather in the first half, she didn’t score until there was 2:48 left in the third quarter.
By then, the hill the Knights had to the climb was large, and they never got closer than seven points in the second half.
“To begin the game, (Monarch) played really well and hit a lot of shots,” Fairview coach Andre Goldberg said. “They’re a good team and I think they’re starting to find their groove. And we didn’t really find our groove until the second half.
“It’s tough to spot a team like that so many points in the first half and expect to come back and win.”
Sophomore Raegen Rohn scored 15 points to lead Monarch, which had six players hit at least one 3-pointer. Senior Bridget Anthony (10 points) joined Rohn and Stimac in double figures.
Katie Kuosman paced Fairview with 14 points, while Annika Lai, daughter of former CU player Amy Mathern, and Kaufman contributed 11 each.
As for Hook, at halftime she was presented a plaque honoring her work as an assistant coach in helping the USA U17 women’s team to a world title last summer. Presenting her the plaque was Callan, USA Basketball’s women’s national team director, who coached Fairview to a state title in the 1980s. And in the stands for the occasion was Barry, the most successful women’s basketball coach in University of Colorado history. Also on hand was Hook’s mother.
“Ceal and Carol have been extremely instrumental in my coaching career, so I was really excited that they were here,” Hook said after the game. “That meant a lot to me.”
Monarch 60, Fairview 46
At Monarch HSFAIRVIEW (13-10, 9-7)
Kuosman 5 2-2 14, Lai 3 4-8 11, Devenport 1 2-2 4, Ryder 2 0-0 4, Kaufman 4 0-2 11, McKee 0 2-4 2. Totals 15 10-18 46.
MONARCH (13-10, 9-7)
Dietz 1 0-0 3, Stimac 4 1-2 12, Keatley 0 0-0 0, Anthony 4 2-2 10, Eisler 2 2-2 7, Rohn 4 6-7 15, Cendali 1 0-0 3, O’Flannigan 1 1-2 4, Williams 1 2-3 4, Scott 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 14-18 60.
Score by quarters:
Fairview 7 9 14 16 — 46
Monarch 15 16 9 20 — 60
3-point field goals — Fairview (6): Kaufman 3, Kuosman 2, Lai; Monarch (8): Stimac 3, Dietz, Rohn, Cendali, Eisler, O’Flannigan. Total fouls — Fairview 14, Monarch 17. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — none.