Girls basketball: Monarch’s Williams delivers sweet payback against Boulder

BOULDER — Attention Colorado girls basketball teams: Don’t make Monarch’s Mae Williams angry. You won’t like her when she’s angry.

Keep in mind Williams’ anger doesn’t cause her to hulk out or play dirty. But it does focus the senior forward. And it often does cause her to go off.

After an errant elbow sent Williams to the locker room midway through the second quarter on Tuesday night, Williams’ furious third quarter scoring paced the Coyotes to a 60-43 win over the Boulder Panthers.

“Personally, I respond really well when I get ticked off,” Williams said. “So, it was kind of a boost in that sense. I’ve been working on stepping up and being a leader for the team so coming off that, I just wanted to bring it back to the court. I don’t know why, it just makes me play harder. I usually am pretty good about not getting a negative vibe off my anger, but more pushing my team and helping us do better.”

A knee injury kept Williams out of all but six games last season. After last year’s experience, she’s developed a particular distaste for being forced off the court.

Williams had just two points when a bloody nose sent her to the locker room on Tuesday night. She scored the first seven points of the second half, and racked up 11 in the third quarter, to lead her team with 15 points overall.

The Coyotes (6-2) are 4-0 when Williams scores in doubles figures this season and are off to a 2-0 start in Front Range League play after finishing last season with a 9-7 conference record. Williams can’t be mad about that.

“We’re a completely different team this year and we’re putting that behind us,” Williams said. “We have team goals for this year and we’re using those as motivation in the second half of the season.”

Coyotes junior guard Raegan Rohn, who leads the Coyotes with 10.3 points per game, scored 10 points. Kelly O’Flannigan added eight points and Macy Scott chipped in seven.

It was 6-foot-3 freshman forward Jasmine Jeffcoat, however, who provided the most consistent scoring around Williams’ third quarter barrage. Jeffcoat shot 6 for 6 from the free-throw line and scored a career-high 12 points — all in quarters one, two and four — to go with her seven rebounds.

“When coach (Gail) Hook puts me in the game, I know my jobs are rebounding, being aggressive on defense, crashing the boards and getting big for the post up,” Jeffcoat said. “I know that’s really important and that’s what I’m out there to do so I’m going to do it.”

The Coyotes and Panthers split two Front Range League contests last season, with the Panthers holding the Coyotes to 10 points in the second half to claim victory in the second matchup. In this year’s first meeting, however, the Coyotes led all 32 minutes.

Since losing their season opener to nationally ranked Regis Jesuit, the Coyotes have won six of seven games.

Senior Jacque Szarmach leads the Panthers, who graduated reigning player of the year Lena Jaycox after last season, with 9.6 points per game but the Coyotes held her to five. There was little the Coyotes could do about Panthers senior point guard Vivi Gregorich when she found room on the outside.

Gregorich hit four of her six 3-point attempts and scored a game-high 20 points. Despite the loss, in which the Panthers (2-5, 0-1 Front Range) were at a distinct height disadvantage in the post, Gregorich said her scoring was a sign of the Panthers’ offense coming along after they averaged 35.8 points during their four losses before the break.

“We’ve been working really hard over break on getting everyone some open shots,” Gregorich said. “Tonight, I got a lot of those open shots but it could be everybody. We struggled scoring a little bit before the break so it was good to get that up a bit. Once we get our rebounding and blocking out down, we’ll have a really complete game.”

The Coyotes play at home against Legacy on Friday. The Panthers will hit the road to take on Mountain Range on Tuesday.

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Monarch 60, Boulder 43

At Boulder HS

MONARCH (6-2, 2-0)

Payne 0 0-0 0, Sroge 1 0-0 2, Rohn 4 0-0 10, Scott 3 1-1 7, Cendali 1 0-0 3, Mendicino 1 0-0 3, O’Flannigan 4 0-0 8, Williams 5 5-6 15, Jeffcoat 3 6-6 12. Totals 22 12-13 60.

BOULDER (2-5, 0-1)

Gregorich 4 8-11 20, Reeves 0 0-2 0, Boylan 1 0-0 2, Burridge 0 0-0 0, Myers 0 0-0 2, Garza 3 0-0 6, Baker 2 0-1 4, Ryan 2 0-0 4, Szarmach 2 0-0 5. Totals 14 8-14 43.

Score by quarters:

Monarch 12 17 16 15 — 60

Boulder 8 11 16 8 — 43

3-point field goals — Monarch (4): Rohn 2, Cendali, Mendicino; Boulder (5): Gregorich 4, Szarmach. Total fouls — Monarch 15, Boulder 12.