In many ways, the Fairview girls basketball team has been the definition of streaky this season.
The Knights opened the season with wins in their first four games, and then enjoyed another four-game winning streak that began in late January.
Conversely, Fairview also has had two streaks of at least three losses in a row, including a five-game slide that began during the club’s trip to Florida in late December and continued after the holiday break.
Yet during both of those losing streaks, Fairview was missing key players due to injury or, in the case of junior Logan Tidstrom, because they were busy competing in other varsity sports.
Because of those caveats, Fairview coach Rod Beauchamp always remained confident his players had another winning streak in them. Apparently, that time is now.
The underdog Knights continued their march through the Class 5A state tournament Tuesday night, putting together dominant stretches of play on either side of halftime before holding off Fruita Monument in the fourth quarter for a 56-46 Sweet 16 victory.
Fairview (16-10) advances to the Great 8 for the first time in 2011 and will face Front Range League rival Monarch in the state quarterfinals Friday at the Denver Coliseum.
“I can of thought we had it all season. We had a few bumps and were never 100 percent with everyone,” Beauchamp said. “I always knew Annika (Lai) could take over a game, and she’s been stepping up here in the postseason huge. Logan I knew was capable of scoring a little more than she has, and she’s finally decided to start shooting a little more and was huge for us.”
Lai and Tidstrom shared the Knights’ top scoring honors with 17 points apiece, and both players were key in Fairview’s game-changing runs on either side of halftime.
After the Knights established an early lead, Fruita’s standout freshman Riley Snyder scored six consecutive points to bring the Wildcats within 21-20 with 3 minutes, 7 seconds left before the break. Fairview, though, went into the locker room on the heels of an 11-4 run, with Tidstrom and Lai combining for all 11 points.
The Knights put together a 15-4 run after halftime — a burst highlighted by 3-pointers from Tidstrom, Lai, and freshman Ashley Panem — to build their biggest lead at 47-28.
“We made sure to come out with a lot of intensity — that’s been a big thing for us at the beginning of every half,” said Tidstrom, also a standout swimmer for the Knights. “We did that really well. When we did really well is when we were passing the ball around and getting really open shots.”
Sloppy fourth quarter ball-handling by the Knights — they committed eight turnovers after committing nine through the first three quarters — allowed Fruita Monument to rally within eight points with 5:30 remaining. But consecutive jumpers from Tidstrom and Grace O’Neill, followed by a slick Panem-to-Tidstrom layup, re-established Fairview’s cushion down the stretch.
Lai also recorded six rebounds and four blocked shots, while Panem finished with 10 points.
“I think we’re peaking in the postseason,” Lai said. “I think all these pieces are coming together. Everyone is stepping up at different points of every game. We’re really starting to play as a team right now, and I think that’s key.”
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Fairview 56, Fruita Monument 46
At Fairview HS
FRUITA MONUMENT (15-11)
Sonya Lopez 5 1-2 13, Mackenzie Wells 0 2-2 2, Taylor Eatwell 1 2-4 4, Riley Snyder 7 2-3 18, Alyssa Maraschin 1 2-2 4, Jade Taylor 0 0-0 0, Sitori Carver 1 0-0 2, Angelique Gall 0 0-0 0, ShaRae Dorscher 0 0-0 0, Mikealy Thomas 1 0-0 3. Totals 16 9-13 46.
Denali Pinto 0 0-1 0, Grace O’Neill 3 1-5 7, Ashley Panem 3 2-2 10, Logan Tidstrom 6 2-2 17, Annika Lai 4 8-8 17, Sruthi Raguveer 1 0-0 2, Laura Hutchinson 1 1-2 3, Tati Sobolik 0 0-0 0, Hailee Baughn 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 14-20 56 .
Score by quarters:
Fruita Monument 12 12 7 15 — 46
Fairview 17 15 15 9 — 56
3-point field goals — Fruita Monument (5): Lopez 2, Snyder 2, Thomas; Fairview (6): Tidstrom 3, Panem 2, Lai. Total fouls — Fruita Monument 18; Fairview 13. Fouled out — Eatwell.