LOUISVILLE – Not much was going right for the Monarch girls basketball team during the first three quarters of a Front Range League home game against Fort Collins on Tuesday night.
The Coyotes ended up with a 56-53 loss on their home floor after a frustrating first quarter put them too far behind to catch up. But the loss looks a little better within the context that the Monarch girls at least proved to themselves that they are capable to fighting their way back into games like Thursday’s.
“I think we eventually started to pull together within our offense a bit more and work together to find the open shot,” Monarch junior Emily Kennie said. “We were taking it to the rim more and getting fouls. Once we starting getting on a roll and making baskets, it pushed us to work even harder because we could see ourselves catching up to the other team.”
The Coyotes (9-2, 1-1) fell 17 points behind by the end of the first quarter and the visiting Lambkins (5-7, 2-0) led by as many as 19 in the third. Monarch eventually cut the lead to three with 1 minute, 53 seconds left, but simply couldn’t get a potential equalizing 3-pointer to fall despite several attempts.
“Our kids didn’t give up and they played hard all the way until the end,” Monarch head coach Mike Blakely said. “As a coach, that’s what you’re looking for. They continued to get after it and besides the end result, I can’t be prouder of those kids for that.”
The Coyotes were missing shots early in the game but Kennie said their confidence returned once a few shots fell after halftime. She scored 14 of her game-high 18 points in the second half and fellow junior Chelin Isaacson scored nine of her 11 points in quarters three and four. The Coyotes outscored the Lambkins, 33-22, in the second half.
Monarch’s only other loss is a 67-64 overtime defeat at the hands of a good Chatfield squad and, despite Thursday’s hiccup, the Coyotes are off to a similarly hot start to last season when they were 13-2 on Jan. 18 under former head coach Gail Hook. But in Blakely’s first turn at the helm, the Coyotes will be looking to avoid a repeat of last year’s late slide that saw them win just one of their final nine games and bow out in the first round of the Class 5A state tournament.
Sophomore Emily Johnson led Fort Collins with 15 points and senior Rachel Jones scored 14.
The Coyotes will continue along their Front Range League schedule when they travel to face Fossil Ridge on Friday.