HIGHLANDS RANCH | The Regis Jesuit girls basketball team brought Highlands Ranch’s home court supremacy to a crashing halt Wednesday night.
The Raiders — ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Class 5A poll — dominated from start to finish in a 69-38 Continental League victory, which brought to an end the Falcons’ home court winning streak estimated at nearly 80 games stretching back to the 2005 season.
Senior Anna Ptasinski connected on six 3-pointers in the first half — and a school-record seven for the game — on her way to a game-high 25 points and coach Carl Mattei’s team was off and running as it improved to 16-2 overall and 6-0 in the Continental League.
“These kids have never won on this court, so they were hungry,” said Mattei, whose team lost 51-45 in its last visit to Highlands Ranch during the 2011-12 season.
“They are very excited. …Ranch is always the standard. I don’t know how many state championships they’ve won lately, 7? 10?, but they protect their home court. You look at Syracuse, you look at Duke, Stanford, UConn, there are standards set in those program.
“This is one of them. To come and beat them on their home court and make a statement that we’re going to keep going and get better, that’s what we’re trying to do each day.”
Senior Diani Akigbogun scored 14 points and senior Jordan Molyneaux added 10 for the Raiders, who have now won three straight over their nemesis, including a seven-point victory in last season’s 5A state championship game and a 17-point decision in league play.
Sophomore Kim Childress scored 14 points to lead fourth-ranked Highlands Ranch (15-3, 4-2), which lost its second straight Continental League game after falling to ThunderRidge in the previous game. The Falcons played without senior Emily Childress, who averages 9.8 points per game.
Highlands Ranch had three sophomores in the starting lineup and veteran Regis Jesuit exploited holes in the defense from the beginning, as Ptasinski got free for four open looks from behind the 3-point arc and made all of them to help her team get out to a 22-8 lead after one quarter.
Two more triples by the Lafayette-bound Ptasinski — including one in the closing seconds of the second quarter — and a number of transition baskets pushed the Raiders’ advantage to 38-17 at halftime. The lead reached 30 points at 50-20 on a Justine Hall layup in the third quarter.
“I was in the zone today; I was ready,” said Ptasinski, who bettered her previous high of six 3-pointers in a game set earlier against Chaparral.
“My team is very well-rounded, so they have guard everyone,” she added. “Luckily, I was the one who was open today. Other games, other people are open, so it’s a good balance.”
Ptasinski’s display of outside shooting was reminiscent of what her brother Joey — now at Lafayette, where she will join him next season — used to do for the Regis Jesuit boys basketball team a few years earlier, but it doesn’t surprise her teammates. She’s made at least one 3-pointer in 11 straight games and 40 on the season, including 20 in the past four games.
“Anna’s been swishing all day; she’s been shooting all the time during practice, after practice, before practice, and it’s really shows throughout the game,” senior Kelsi Lidge said. “When’s she’s on fire, you have to get her the ball. There’s no reason not to.”
With the outside threat demonstrated to Highlands Ranch, Regis Jesuit then pounded the ball inside relentlessly in the final quarter as Akigbogun and Molyneaux combined for 14 of the Raiders’ 19 points in the period.
Mattei is understandably pleased by the inside-outside game that’s flowing so well for his team, which remains unbeaten in Colorado.
“If they are going to try to zone us, we’ll just rain it from the outside with Anna, Justine and Jess,” Mattei said. “It’s very difficult because we have so many weapons this year, so who are you going to pick? What’s your poison?”
Regis Jesuit’s seniors relished every second of the victory.
“It feels pretty great, we were determined to come out and break that streak they had going on their court,” Lidge said. “It was a pretty big goal for us.”
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel
(1) REGIS JESUIT 69, (4) HIGHLANDS RANCH 38
Score by quarters:
Regis Jesuit 22 16 12 19 — 69
High. Ranch 8 9 9 8 — 38
REGIS JESUIT (69)
Justine Hall 4 0-0 8, Jess Lewis 2 0-0 4, Anna Ptasinski 9 0-0 25, Diani Akigbogun 5 4-6 14, Kelsi Lidge 0 1-4 1, Jordan Molyneaux 5 0-0 10, Neffie Lockley 3 1-2 7, TaeKenya Cleveland 0 0-0 0, Cheyenne Cleveland 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 6-12 69.
HIGHLANDS RANCH (38)
Logan Opheim 4 0-0 11, Blaire Braxton 0 0-0 0, Ciera Morgan 1 1-3 3, Symone Starks 2 4-4 10, Kim Childress 5 4-6 14, Sara Clark 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 9-13 38.
3-point field goals — Regis Jesuit (7): Anna Ptasinski 7; Highlands Ranch (5): Logan Opheim 3, Symone Starks 2. Total fouls — Regis Jesuit 12, Highlands Ranch 8. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.