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Girls basketball: Rohn and Cendali fuel Monarch’s rout of Boulder

LOUISVILLE — Throughout a basketball season, teams look for tangible measures of improvement. The Monarch girls’ two matchups with Boulder symbolize a mighty large glimpse of progress.

After winning by 17 at Boulder last month but feeling a bit sluggish about it, things got downright ugly Tuesday night as the Coyotes played in vintage form. The verdict: Monarch 67, Boulder 19.

“We came out quick and we were pressing a lot, and that’s helping us get started a lot quicker,” Monarch senior Francesca Cendali said “I really think we’ve way improved since the beginning of the season. We’re finally putting it together.”

Monarch (14-6, 9-4) won its fourth straight and leapfrogged Fairview into fourth place in the ultra-competitive Class 5A Front Range League. The Knights were upset 39-37 Tuesday night by Mountain Range.

The Coyotes held a precarious 15-10 lead midway through the second quarter when they erupted for 12 points on four possessions. It included two 3-pointers by Cendali and basket-and-a-foul conversions by Cendali and Macy Scott.

It was part of an 18-0 run that Boulder (5-13, 3-9) didn’t halt until Grace Garza scored a breakaway basket with 32 seconds left in the half.

“That’s Monarch basketball,” Coyotes coach Gail Hook said. “I just thought we weren’t playing real aggressively defensively and really needed to get back to basics. We decided to press a lot more to try to get some transition points early in the game.”

As per usual, junior guard Raegen Rohn led Monarch with 16 points, including 12 in the first half. Cendali scored 11 of her 13 before intermission, and all 10 Coyotes who played found their way into the scoring column.

As it turned out, the 18-0 rally wasn’t Monarch’s largest of the game. With mostly reserves on the floor, the Coyotes blanked Boulder 20-0 in the fourth.

“We definitely had a case of the snowball effect,” first-year Boulder coach Sara Klippert said. “We had way too many turnovers and, unfortunately, you can’t have turnovers against really good teams because they’re going to score on you.”

In the initial meeting between the teams Jan. 7, Boulder was in striking distance at 45-35 entering the fourth. Vivi Gregorich had a game-best 20 points in that one, but Monarch’s swarming defense limited her to nine this time. Panthers sharpshooter Jacque Szarmach was held scoreless.

“If you turn off the scoreboard, I don’t think the score represented how hard my girls worked,” Klippert said. “They worked for all 32 minutes of the basketball game.”

Monarch finishes the regular season with a trio of tough matchups – at Legacy, home against Horizon and at Fairview. The Coyotes went 1-2 during the first run against those squads, with all the games decided by six points or less.

But that was before their current flurry.

“It’s all about finding the right combination of a defense we can be successful with,” Hook said. “We’re usually a program that relies on defensive pressure and points off of defense, and we just went back to what’s been successful in the past.”

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Monarch 67, Boulder 19

At Monarch HS

BOULDER (5-13, 3-9)

Gregorich 3 1-2 9, Boylan 2 0-0 4, Myers 1 0-0 2, Garza 2 0-0 4, Szarmach 0 0-2 0, Reeves 0 0-0 0, Burridge 0 0-0 0, Flint 0 0-0 0, Sullivan 0 0-0 0, Baker 0 0-0 0, Ryan 0 0-0 0, Williams 0 0-4 0. Totals 8 1-8 19.

MONARCH (14-6, 9-4)

Rohn 6 3-3 16, Scott 1 1-1 3, Cendali 5 1-1 13, O’Flannigan 2 2-2 6, Williams 4 1-2 9, Carter 2 1-1 5, Sroge 1 0-0 2, Burgener 1 4-4 7, Mendicino 1 1-2 4, Jeffcoat 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 14-16 67.

Score by quarters:

Boulder 5 7 7 0 — 19

Monarch 10 23 14 20 — 67

3-point field goals — Boulder (2): Gregorich 2; Monarch (5): Cendali 2, Rohn, Burgener, Mendicino. Total fouls — Boulder 14, Monarch 9.

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