DENVER | Despite an early morning start, the Regis Jesuit girls basketball team came out ready to play in the first quarter of Saturday’s Class 6A Great 8 contest against Monarch at the Denver Coliseum.
In an opening quarter held while many were still enjoying their morning cup of coffee, the 12th-seeded Raiders knocked down four 3-pointers and built a 23-12 lead over the fourth-seeded Coyotes — a team it defeated in the regular season — but things turned significantly in the final three quarters.
Regis Jesuit still managed to hold a two-point lead at halftime, only to get outscored 31-11 in the third and fourth quarters combined in a 62-44 loss in the opening game of an eight-game slate of 6A girls and boys Great 8 contests.
PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE REGIS JESUIT-MONARCH GIRLS BASKETBALL GAME, HERE
Coach Jordan Kasemodel’s Raiders finished the season 17-9.
Junior Coryn Watts paced Regis Jesuit with 14 points, while junior Hana Belibi added 12 and sophomore Iliana Greene had nine for Regis Jesuit, which had just three seniors on the floor in starter Sophia Meyer, plus reserves Brenna Albrecht-Reed and Kate Michalek.
Monarch advanced to the March 10 Final Four and will play No. 8 Arapahoe, an upset winner over No. 1 Valor Christian, at 2:15 p.m. March 10. The other semifinal pits 11th-seeded Grandview against No. 2 Cherry Creek at 11 a.m.
The Raiders had dealt the Coyotes a 50-36 loss in December in a game that still stands as the only defeat for 25-1 Monarch. They threatened to do so again if they had been able to maintain a hot start, as Belibi, Watts, Greene and Meyer all knocked down 3-pointers and they ended the opening period on a 7-0 run.
The Coyotes whittled nine points off the deficit before the break as senior Amelia Rosin scored half of her game-high 16 points in the second quarter to make it a two-point game. A layup by Natalie Guanella (14 points) in the opening seconds of the second half tied it up immediately and the Coyotes outscored the Raiders by double digits in the quarter to take control of the game.
Arezo Safi (13 points) had a layup on the opening possession of the fourth quarter and Monarch pushed the lead to 13 points by the midway point of the period and added to the advantage at the free throw line.
Regis Jesuit’s perimeter shooting went cold in the second half and the Raiders had very few second-chance points in the decisive stretch of the game as the Coyotes took advantage of their size advantage.
While Monarch had four seniors in its starting lineup, Regis Jesuit had just one and should have a lot to look forward to as its expects to return four of its top five leading scorers in Belibi, Watts, Greene and sophomore Jane Rumpf.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2023 CLASS 6A GIRLS STATE BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS (GREAT 8)
(4) MONARCH 62, (12) REGIS JESUIT 44
Score by quarters:
Regis Jesuit 23 10 5 6 — 44
Monarch 12 19 15 16 — 62
REGIS JESUIT (44)
Jane Rumpf 1 0-0 2, Coryn Watts 6 0-3 14, Hana Belibi 4 3-5 12, Sophia Meyer 1 0-0 3, Iliana Greene 2 3-4 9, Brenna Albrecht-Reed 2 0-2 4, Jada Hodges 0 0-0 0, Kate Michalek 0 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 6-14 44
Natalie Guanella 5 4-7 14, Arezo Safi 4 5-7 13, Amelia Rosin 7 2-3 16, Caroline Walley 1 2-2 4, Hayley Luther 5 1-3 13, Reese Trobaugh 1 0-0 2, Lindsay Pleva 0 0-0 0, Avery Richardson 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 14-22 62
3-point field goals — Regis Jesuit (6): Iliana Greene 2, Coryn Watts 2, Hana Belibi, Sophia Meyer. Monarch (2): Hayley Luther 2. Total fouls — Regis Jesuit 17, Monarch 13. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.