LOUISVILLE — The Monarch boys basketball team blazed through its non-conference schedule in December, tallying wins in nine of its first 10 contests while nabbing multiple tournament titles. And after dismantling Ralston Valley last week in the Coyotes’ home opener, the rest of Colorado seems to have taken notice.
On Tuesday MoHi made its season debut in the state’s AP media poll, checking in at No. 10 in Class 5A. However, the Coyotes were unable to validate the freshly-assigned ranking with a victory, as the team let a fourth-quarter lead slip away at Fossil Ridge that very evening.
Back on its home floor Friday night, Monarch seemed determined to return to their winning ways and leave no doubt it is one of the state’s premier squads. And unfortunately for a struggling Poudre team, that meant the visitors were in for a long evening. The hosts ran the undermanned Impalas out of the gym, ultimately capturing an 82-34 victory once the final buzzer mercifully sounded.
“I really didn’t feel like we played down (to their level), from the get-go,” head coach Ken Nevin said. “We played very hard defensively, and that’s all you can hope for.”
With three of Poudre’s varsity players sitting out for a variety of reasons, the visitors were severely overmatched from the jump. Monarch scored nine straight points early on to take a six-point lead, then closed out the first quarter with a 7-0 run. That spurt was capped with a Mac Rowan 3-pointer at the horn to give the Coyotes a 15-point lead.
The barrage continued in the second period, as the Coyotes’ pressure wrecked havoc on the PHS offense, forcing a total of 12 turnovers before intermission. Senior guard Sam Fredricksmeyer spearheaded the attack on both sides of the ball and collected 10 points in the second quarter alone. His offensive explosion, coupled with MoHi’s perfect 15 for 15 effort from the foul line, allowed the home team to take a 45-12 lead into the locker room at half.
“It was a good game,” Fredricksmeyer said. “We knew they had some guys injured and we just wanted to come out with energy. We had active hands, got in the passing lanes, so I thought we played well.”
The Impalas were unable to solve their issues during the break, as they turned the ball over on four straight possessions to begin the third. Again, Fredricksmeyer took advantage, creating easy chances for himself and his teammates while running the lead up over 40. The exclamation point came with 3 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the quarter, when the senior went up on a breakaway and threw down a legitimate two-handed jam, sending the student section into a frenzy.
Most of the MoHi starters were removed shortly thereafter, allowing Nevin to empty his bench and coast through the remainder of the affair. While Fredricksmeyer led all scorers with 18 points, he also received solid support from juniors Steve Hoban and Ryan Webb, who finished with 14 and 12, respectively.
“It was huge,” Fredricksmeyer said of the bounce-back victory. “We played Fossil really close and think we could beat them if we played them again. But it was huge to come back and get this win.
“It’s a long season and one loss isn’t going to kill you. We gotta keep fighting.”
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Monarch 82, Poudre 34
At Monarch HS
Gonzalo Rubio 0 1-2 1, Mitchell Yokem 2 1-2 6, Tanner Schoeninger 2 0-0 4, Ben Francia 2 0-0 5, Alan Davis 0 2-2 2, Braxton Davis 0 2-2 2, Connor Smoyer 1 0-0 3, Jake Secher 1 0-0 3, Troy McFadden 3 0-2 8. Totals 11 6-8 34.
Shawn Kirkman 3 1-3 8, Mitchell Hill 0 2-2 2, Sam Fredricksmeyer 7 4-4 18, Mac Rowan 3 0-0 9, Austin Cracraft 3 0-0 6, Steve Hoban 5 0-0 14, Kylor Johnson 0 3-3 3, Erik Lawson 1 4-4 6, Ryan Webb 5 2-3 12, TJ Jones 2 0-0 4. Totals 29 16-19 82.
Score by quarters:
Poudre 6 6 14 8 — 34
Monarch 21 24 24 13 — 82
3-point field goals — Poudre (6): McFadden 2, Secher, Smoyer, Francia, Yokem; Monarch (8): Hoban 4, Rowan 3, Kirkman. Total fouls — Poudre 14, Monarch 13.