BROOMFIELD — On the back of a big second half, Monarch got out of Broomfield with a victory on the final night of its regular season and now appears headed back to the state basketball tournament.
Greg Gerhardt had nine points and five rebounds, Hayden Spracklin scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter, and the Coyotes shook off a slow start and outscored the potential-spoiler Eagles by 26 in the second half to win, 56-36, on Friday. And because of it — instead of maybe flirting with the postseason bubble in loom of the release of the Class 5A 32-team playoff field in the coming days — they look to be in prime position for a second straight trip to the postseason.
“Broomfield this year has been struggling a little bit, so they were pretty down low in the RPI rankings and all that stuff, and I felt like they were going to be hungry for this game, and they were,” Monarch senior AJ Yost said. “We couldn’t drop this one. It probably would have put us right on the edge of being out of playoff contention. We needed this one.”
Monarch (9-5, 7-4 5A Front Range League) came into the night fairly sturdy inside the tournament vortex, ranking 28th in the Colorado High School Activities Association’s 5A seeding index. And with now six wins over the last seven games, it would take something chaotic to keep it out.
In all likelihood, it’ll be the first time Monarch has reached the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 2017-18. A year ago, it fell 65-62 at Regis Jesuit in the first round
“I want to play a good team just to challenge ourselves, see if we can beat a good team,” Gerhardt said. “I want to play with some of the best, so we’ll see what happens. We’ll see who we get. I’m excited.”
Closing out their campaign Friday, the Coyotes worked out of a six-point halftime deficit thanks to a dominant third, when they outscored Broomfield 19-2.
Gerhardt and Brayden Barry each scored five in the frame and Yost’s 3 at the buzzer made it 37-26 heading into the fourth. Broomfield’s second bucket in the half didn’t come until Quin Galka’s 3-point play with 5:58 remaining.
“Broomfield is kind of our rival and they got us pretty good last year,” Monarch coach Tim DeBerry said. “I think the kids were nervous and excited. Then they figured it out and came out and played. I got to credit the kids, trying to D up a little bit and hit some shots.”
Prior to a one-way second half, the Eagles frustrated Monarch with a press — resulting in a flurry of turnovers. Trailing 14-4 early in the second quarter, the Eagles went on a run and Gabe Estebanes scored seven straight as part of an 11-0 spark to put them up 24-18 at the break.
Estebanes and Kevin McMahon each finished with 11 points for Broomfield, which finished 3-11 in a season with all new starters.
“It’s been really hard,” said Broomfield coach Terrence Dunn, noting difficulties which included an offseason that allowed little preparation due to the pandemic. “We’ve only had four kids that have played every game. We’ve struggled with injuries, we’ve had concussions, and a variety of other things. Our kids are great kids and I thought they battled tonight even if they weren’t able to pull out the win.”
Garrett Myers added nine points in the win for Monarch, while Barry had eight. Sam Carlson, the team’s scoring average leader, finished with five points, four rebounds and six steals.
All state playoff brackets are expected to be announced Monday, per the CHSAA bulletin.