Rod Beauchamp thought the game would go one way, and it ended up going completely the opposite Tuesday evening. But if there is one thing the young Fairview girls basketball team has shown for most of the season, it is versatility.
Instead of dominating in the post against a Horizon team missing its best player, the Knights needed to be a little more diverse in their plays as they battled the Hawks at the Dungeon with a big Front Range League win on the line.
Fairview responded brilliantly with off-the-ball movement, dribble penetration and kick-outs that resulted in open opportunities, and their shooting strokes were on-point in a 69-54 victory at The Dungeon.
The hot hands of sophomore Grace O’Neill, freshman Denali Pinto and junior Logan Tidstrom accompanied the strong dribble-drives of Annika Lai all night long, and all four of those players finished in double figures as Fairview improved to 11-7 overall and ran their league win streak to three games at the same time.
“I think the one thing we thought we could take advantage a little bit more was us having a little more size advantage, try to post in,” said Beauchamp, whose team has secured three lopsided wins since a loss at Broomfield. “They did a great job still being physical inside, and they took that away. We talked about moving without the ball, meeting passes, and I thought we did a real nice job of that. The extra pass got us the open girl.
“It’s nice when you get hot, because we have been on the other side of that.”
Fairview’s shooting was simply too much for Horizon, who lost for the fourth straight game without senior post Alyssa Rader and her double-double average. With the help of smart press-break play, Fairview got a lot of inside looks in transition throughout, but when it came to slowing the ball down, the Knights were effective from everywhere.
For the game, Fairview shot a blistering 57.7 percent from the floor (26 for 45). Lai finished with 20 points, while Pinto (15 points), O’Neill (14) and Tidstrom (10) each hit most of their shots.
It all boiled down to sharing the ball, Pinto said.
“We swung the ball around really well, and everyone was getting open shots, which was awesome,” Pinto said after going 5 for 9 from the floor herself, including 3 for 5 from beyond the arc. “We definitely want to keep playing unselfish, move the ball around and just work for the best shot possible.”
“The chemistry really is there at the moment, and I hope it can stick,” O’Neill added. “We’ve been shooting well, working a lot in practice and practicing with intensity, and I think it’s showed.”
The teams came out making buckets, and once-ranked Horizon (12-7, 3-5) held a small advantage with 2 minutes, 30 seconds left in the first quarter after a 3-pointer from Savannah Arellano made it 13-12.
Fairview built a 20-13 edge by the time the frame was done and then extended it to a 10-point advantage (36-26) by halftime. Pinto and O’Neill hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the second stanza, and Lai imposed her will for six points — four of those coming on free throws.
O’Neill opened up the third quarter by hitting two straight shots, and Fairview gradually built a 25-point lead and deflated the Hawks by hitting five of its first seven shots after the break.
“They have as good of guards as there is out there, girls who can handle the ball and shoot the 3, and I thought we defended well,” Beauchamp added. “We were able to get out in transition a little bit.”
O’Neill added nine rebounds, and FHS had a big edge in boards for the game (34-21) to help the cause.
Kylie Jimenez scored 21 for Horizon, and Fairview held third-leading scorer Lauren Bennett to six points.
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Fairview 69, Horizon 54
At Fairview HS
HORIZON (12-7, 3-5)
Kayla Chand 3 2-4 8, Kylie Jimenez 8 5-5 21, Emily Ramos 1 0-0 2, Sydney Fields 1 0-0 3, Linsi Calvo 4 0-0 8, Lauren Bennett 2 2-2 6, Savannah Arellano 2 0-0 6. Totals 21 9-11 54.
FAIRVIEW (11-7, 5-2)
Annika Lai 7 6-8 20, Tati Sobolik 1 0-0 2, Denali Pinto 5 2-4 15, Hailee Baughn 2 0-0 5, Grace O’Neill 6 0-0 14, Sruthi Raguveer 0 0-1 0, Logan Lidstrom 4 0-0 10, Laura Hutchinson 1 1-2 3, Kate O’Neill 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 9-15 69.
Score by quarters:
Horizon 13 13 6 22 — 54
Fairview 20 16 18 15 — 69
3-point field goals — Horizon (3): Fields, Arellano 2; Fairview (8): Pinto 3, O’Neill 2, Tidstrom 2, Baughn. Total fouls — Horizon 16, Fairview 11.