LITTLETON — Monarch’s boys basketball team knew it had to settle down after Heritage and the hot hand of Cal Wing exploded for 13 straight points early in the second half on Saturday afternoon.
It wasn’t hard to remember what unfolded just the night before.
John Grigsby scored 16 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, Matteo Germain also had 22, and the Coyotes beat Heritage 70-61 less than 24 hours after a lopsided loss to league-rival Fairview.
On Friday, the Knights went on a 17-0 run in the first half to go up big and the Coyotes (5-10) never recovered in a 62-34 loss. Germain, who dislocated his shoulder in the second quarter Friday, said the loss was on his mind all night.
“It was really hard and was really hard to push through,” the senior said. “But this morning I woke up and said I’m going to use this as fuel, because last night I went home crying for the first time in a while. It really hurt. But I just believed in my teammates, I believed in myself, and said we’re going to go out here and win, and bounce back.”
Saturday, Monarch watched an 11-point lead dwindle in the opening half and temporarily lost control when Wing scored nine straight as part of a 13-0 spurt to put the Eagles (5-9) ahead 43-38 in the third.
This time, the Coyotes stormed back, using the strength of gritty defense and hard-to-the rim offense.
“A lot of our losses have come because of mental weakness, because a team goes on a run and we don’t match that run,” Monarch coach Stewart Brewer said. “I think we did a better job of that today.”
Grigsby and Germain were especially good. Grigsby took over in the fourth and hit all 11 of his free throw attempts in the game. Germain, who was a handful on the boards throughout the afternoon, had three three-point-play chances and went 7-for-8 from the free throw line.
“Last night we had a big emphasis after the game, we just said we’re going to come out today and keep our heads up no matter what,” Grigsby said. “We focused on that and it worked for us.”
Before the game slogged through the charity stripe with 47 attempts between the two teams, the Coyotes took a cushy, early lead on the strength of a 14-2 run. Michael Davis hit consecutive 3s and Evan Alexander added another five points in the spurt to put Monarch up 21-9 late in the first.
The Littleton-based school then picked away from the line, attempting 16 of the game’s first 18 free throws, and Carson Kurowski’s 3 before the break trimmed the lead to 32-30. In the final 70 seconds, Monarch hit six straight free throws to build the lead back to six. The Coyotes finished 20 of 25 from the line.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak and notched Monarch’s first win on the road this season. Even better, it made the loss to Fairview — well … no, that still stings.
“We’re going to have to face all our peers at school on Tuesday, unfortunately,” Germain said. “But this (win) gives us a boost of confidence and a boost of knowing what we can do. Hopefully we can carry that into next game.”
Brent W. New: firstname.lastname@example.org and @brentwnew
Monarch 70, Heritage 61
At Heritage HS
Alexander 2 0-0 5, Cadichon 0 0-0 0, Davis 3 2-4 11, M. Chen 1 0-0 3, Germain 7 7-8 22, Covington 2 0-2 4, Stewart 0 0-0 0, Grigsby 5 11-11 22, Z. Chen 0 0-0 0, Henderson 1 0-0 3, Gerhardt 0 0-0 0, Carlson 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 20-25 70..
Zaragoza 1 3-6 5, Majewski 0 0-0 0, Herman 1 0-0 2, Randall 0 3-4 3, Olsen 5 6-8 16, Chilton 0 0-0 0, Wing 8 2-2 19, Kurowski 3 0-0 9, Van Denend 0 1-2 1, Garlutzo 3 0-0 6. Team 21 15-22 61..
Score by quarters:
Monarch 21 15 13 21 — 70
3-point field goals — Monarch (8): Davis 3, Alexander, M. Chen, Germain, Grigsby, Henderson; Heritage (4): Kurowski 3, Wing. Total fouls — Monarch 21, Heritage 24. Fouled out —Randall. Technical fouls — Henderson.