AURORA | Monday night’s matchup with Grandview turned out much better than the last two for the Regis Jesuit girls basketball team.
The Raiders suffered through two losses to the Wolves last season by an average margin of 30.5 points — including a 33-point loss in the Class 5A state semifinals — but came out on top in a tight one on Grandview’s home floor.
Sophomore Jada Moore calmly sank two free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining and Regis Jesuit escaped with a 53-51 victory in an early-season battle of Aurora powers with an exciting ending after three periods filled with turnovers, missed free throws and very little flow.
Coach Carl Mattei’s Raiders (4-2) were held to single digits in points in two of the first three quarters, but exploded for 25 in the final period to overcome a deficit that reached 10 points in the final minute of the third period.
Moore scored 10 of her game-high 17 points in the final period and freshman Avery Vansickle tallied eight of her 10 to key Regis Jesuit’s rally. Junior Fran Belibi added eight points for the Raiders, including a go-ahead basket with 17 seconds left.
Grandview (2-1) had a 26-game winning streak against Colorado teams snapped that dated back to a two-point loss to ThunderRidge in the semifinals of the 2015-16 5A state playoffs and coach Josh Ulitzky knew a big reason why.
The Wolves made just 18 of their 29 free throw attempts, including four in the pivotal fourth quarter.
Junior Alisha Davis was a force on the inside on both ends of the floor for Grandview and finished with a team-high 14 points, while senior Leilah Vigil chipped in 10 and junior Allyah Marlett and sophomore Landri Hudson contributed eight apiece.
The Wolves led for much of the game and had a 10-point advantage at 36-26 with 22.5 seconds left in the third quarter when senior Jaiden Galloway made one of her two free throw attempts.
Moore scored the last basket of the third quarter and also had the first hoop of the fourth quarter to tighten the game up. Down four, Moore scored on a layup and then got a putback of a shot by teammate Jasmine Gaines off a steal to knot the game up at 43-43 with 4:02 left.
The teams were tied on three other occasions in the final minutes of regulation, the last at 51-51 after Marlett sank both of her free throws with 11.7 seconds remaining.
The Raiders chose not to call a timeout and pushed the ball up the floor, where Moore appeared to have the ball stripped from her by Galloway and the two went to the floor to dive on the loose ball. An official whistled Galloway for a foul with just 1.9 seconds remaining.
Moore, a 66 percent free throw shooter coming into the game who was 1-for-3 in the game to that point, swished both of her attempts and Grandview never got off a last shot as Vigil’s baseball pass was broken up near midcourt.
Regis Jesuit travels to play at Fairview at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the same night Grandview plays at Dakota Ridge at 7 p.m.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
REGIS JESUIT 53, GRANDVIEW 51
Score by quarters:
Regis Jesuit 6 15 7 25 — 53
Grandview 8 15 13 15 — 51
REGIS JESUIT (53)
Fran Belibi 3 2-3 8, Sidney Weigand 1 0-0 2, Avery Vansickle 3 2-3 10, Jada Moore 7 3-5 17, Noelle Cahill 2 0-1 4, Jasmine Gaines 2 3-6 7, Olivia Ayers 2 0-0 4, Sam Jones 0 1-3 1, Gracy Weigand 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 11-21 53.
Jaiden Galloway 1 3-6 5, Alisha Davis 5 4-7 14, Allyah Marlett 2 4-4 8, Leilah Vigil 2 5-9 10, Addison O’Grady 2 0-0 4, Landri Hudson 2 2-2 8, Kameryn Brown 1 0-0 2, Heaven Smith 0 0-1 0. Totals 15 18-29 51.
3-point field goals — Regis Jesuit (2): Avery Vansickle 2; Grandview (2): Lenzi Hudson 2. Total fouls — Regis Jesuit 24, Grandview 15. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.