HIGHLANDS RANCH - Chaparral came into Tuesday night’s battle of Top 10 girls basketball teams with two Continental League losses.
Those setbacks came against Regis Jesuit and Highlands Ranch which happen to be the No. 1 and No. 2 Class 5A teams in the state.
So Chaparral must have thought it was a breeze to play No. 4 Rock Canyon and the Wolverines, ranked No. 8, led from start to finish and earned a 62-56 road victory over the Jaguars. It was the first league loss in six games for Rock Canyon, now 15-3 overall. Chaparral improved to 4-2 in the Continental League and 13-4 overall.
Rock Canyon had its 10-game winning streak snapped and the Jaguars travel to Highlands Ranch Saturday to take on the Falcons.
“Rock Canyon is a good team,” said Chaparral coach Tony Speights. “They’re going to keep coming. He’s (Rock Canyon coach Robbie Ballard) built too good of program for them not to come. They’re not quitters. They were 15-2 for a reason.
“Our kids showed a lot of moxie and got up, got after them and maintained.”
It took Rock Canyon nearly four minutes to score in the first quarter as Chaparral jumped to an 11-0 advantage.
Chaparral swished six 3-pointers in the first half including three plus a three-point play in the final 3:23 of the second quarter to take a 33-28 lead at halftime after the Jaguars had pulled to within three points.
“We got on a roll right there at the end of the half,” said Speights. “We got the lead and were able to maintain it in the second half.”
Rock Canyon made four of 16 field goal attempts in the first quarter and all were made by Lexy Thorderson.
“Chaparral is a good team,” said Ballard. “They are very disciplined. We like to get out and run a little bit and they kept it in the half court.
“They got off to a great start and we didn’t start the game ready to go. We eased into it and before you knew it we were down 11-0. We fought back but you’ve got to start the game and play all the time. We didn’t execute very well.”
Rock Canyon started to run more in the second half, worked the ball inside and got a couple turnovers because of Kendall Smith’s defense to narrow the Wolverines lead to two points at 40-38 with 2:41 left in the third quarter.
However, Chaparral ran off seven unanswered points over the next five minutes with Katrina Bacovcin scoring five of those points and Natalie Baker two.
Rock Canyon rallied again and was within four points with 2:27 remaining in the game but the Wolverines made eight of 10 free throws and Baker added a bucket down the stretch to hold off the Jaguars.
“It’s Baker, it’s (Katie) Longwell, it’s Bacovcin,” Speights said. “It’s a senior group. They’ve been around the block a time or two. They’ve played in some big games. That’s what you get playing in this league.”
Bacovcin finished with 18 points, while Baker and Longwell each had 13 points.
“We have been a second half team in tough games so we wanted to focus on the first half,” said Baker. “They are a good team and we knew if they got a lead they would want to keep it.”
Thorderson led Rock Canyon with 18 points. Morgan Roos finished with 17 while Kendall Koslosky had 10 of her 12 points in the second half.
“It was a frustrating game,” said Ballard. “It was one we thought we could win at home, one we should win at home. But, we have to move on and get ready for Ranch.”