PARKER – Abriana Lujan and Kelsey Wainright participated in a history making game Friday night.
The two players helped the Highlands Ranch girls basketball team blitz Legend, 76-31, in a Continental League game that was the milestone 500th career victory for Falcons coach Caryn Jarocki.
“It gives me the chills,” said Lujan. “It’s such a great thing to be a part of. Our practices were extra hard this week, we knew we had to get it for her. We let her down in the loss to Regis so we had to come back, get fired up and pull together as a team.
“This is history. Everyone has been telling us that we have to get coach J her 500th win. Now we have to let that go and focus on the state tournament and come back fired up.”
Nothing was said about the approaching milestone in practice but the players knew that a victory Friday night in the Titans gym would be memorable.
“It’s incredible,” said Wainright. “Coach J is a great coach and it’s great to honor her this way.
“We definitely knew about it and we prepared. We wanted to show her the best effort that we could. She deserved it.”
Jarocki is the first Colorado girls coach to win 500 games. She is in her 28th year of coaching with a 500-146 record including this season’s 17-4 mark.
Denver Christian’s Dick Katte is the all-time leader in boys coaching wins with 876 victories.
Jarocki was the head coach at Colorado Academy for 11 years and has put up a 349-72 record with seven state championships at Highlands Ranch.
Prior to this season, Highlands Ranch teams under Jarocki’s leadership have averaged 20.75 wins a year.
As Friday night’s game ended, Highlands Ranch fans and players held up 500 win signs and the celebrations and pictures began.
Alumni from previous Falcons teams were on hand including Ann Strother, who won two state championships at Highlands Ranch before going to play at the University of Connecticut, the WNBA and Europe.
“She knows how to make everybody come together and play as a team,” said Strother. “Highlands Ranch is a special place for sure. There are not many high school teams that have a record that she has. She does it year after year.”
Jarocki displayed some emotion at the end of the game but quickly returned to her business-like self.
“It’s pretty cool but it’s a relief because I want the focus to go towards the playoffs now,” said Jarocki.
Highlands Ranch, the state’s No. 3 ranked Class 5A team, didn’t waste any time against Legend in making sure Jarocki could celebrate as the Falcons put on a show of a variety of layups in the 45-point win.
The Falcons had 15 first half field goals and 13 of them were layups. Highlands Ranch made 10 layups in the second half.
Wainright, a 5-foot-11 senior, led the Falcons with 22 points. Madison Montgomery had 13 points and Lujan finished with 11 markers.
“Transitions, layups, run the floor and have fun,” Jarocki said.
Legend shot just 13 percent in the game and Mataya Racek led the Titans with 12 points with nine coming from the free throw line.
After the Falcons left the gym, they found out that the victory pushed them into a first place tie in the Continental League with Regis Jesuit and ThunderRidge.
ThunderRidge upset top-ranked Regis, 57-53,Friday night and with two games remaining in the regular season all three teams have 8-1 loop records.
Highlands Ranch hosts Ponderosa and plays at Mountain Vista in its final two Continental games. ThunderRidge plays at home against Castle View and Rock Canyon while Regis goes to Douglas County and entertains Ponderosa.