Falcons lose `one to remember' to Regis

Highlands Ranch girls suffer three straight setbacks

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It was one of those games that many Highlands Ranch supporters would like to forget.

But not girls basketball coach Caryn Jarocki.

No. 1 ranked Regis Jesuit walloped the No. 5 Falcons, 69-38, on Feb.5 in a Continental League game played at the Highlands Ranch gym.

“We're not going to forget that,” said Jarocki.

It was a rematch between last season's Class 5A state finalists and the defending state champion Raiders left little doubt that they are the team to beat again this season.

It was the second consecutive loss for Highlands Ranch too, coming right on the heels of a defeat at ThunderRidge.

The disappointing performance against Regis marked the first loss at home for the Falcons in at least eight seasons and close to 80 games.

Nobody from Highlands Ranch could remember the last home loss.

“I have no idea,” said Jarocki. “It's been a long time.”

Regis coach Carl Mattei was aware of the Falcons' lengthy home winning streak.

“We've never won at Highlands Ranch,” he said. “These kids have never won on their court and they were hungry. Ranch has always been class, they're the standard. They protect their home court.

“You look at Syracuse, you look at Duke, you look at Stanford, UConn and there are standards set in those programs. And this is one of them. To come and beat Highlands Ranch on their home court and at least make a statement that we are going to keep going and get better that's what we were trying to do.”

Highlands Ranch played without senior starter Emily Childress who was sidelined with a sinus infection.

Regis forced turnovers and punctured the Falcons zone defense with accurate outside shooting as Anna Ptasinski made all seven of the Regis 3-point baskets. Ptasinski had 25 points.

“They (Falcon players) weren't doing what they were supposed to,” explained Jarocki of Highlands Ranch's defensive strategy.

“If they are going to try to zone us, we'll just rain them from outside,” said Mattei. “It's very difficult because we have so many weapons this year. I look at our defense each quarter and I figure if we can hold under 40, that's good.”

Highlands Ranch trailed 10-8 with 3:46 left in the first quarter but turned the ball over on eight of its next 10 possessions and went scoreless for 5:06 as the Raiders went on a 19-0 run, putting the game out of reach early in the second quarter.

“When you have to start three sophomores (Kim Childress, Symone Starks and Blair Braxton), that's what happens,” said Jarocki. “They'll learn. They all think, oh yeah, we're good enough to play in these games.

“Regis is good and we threw the ball right to them. They scored off of the turnovers. Not only did we turn it over we gave them points on the other side.”

Kim Childress, Emily's sister, led the Falcons with 14 points while Logan Opheim added 11 and Starks finished with 10 counters.

“We still have plenty of work ahead and we need to get Emily back,” said Jarocki. “She looked like her head was going to explode. She supposedly had a wicked sinus infection. One of our assistant coaches had it for two months.

“We have to go back to practice and work. The girls have been doing real well. We can't go with one senior starter (Ciera Morgan) and expect to compete with Regis.”

Highlands Ranch suffered its third consecutive loss Feb. 8 at Rock Canyon when the Jaguars notched their first ever triumph over the Falcons in eight games with a 64-52 win in a game in which Emily Childress did not play.

It might appear like a misprint but Highlands Ranch found itself in an unusual place in the Continental League standings. The Falcons (15-4) were sixth with a 4-3 record after the games played on Feb. 8.

The Falcons have four league games remaining in the regular season against Littleton (Feb. 11), Legend (Feb. 14), Ponderosa (Feb. 18) and Mountain Vista (Feb. 20).

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