Highlands Ranch rolls over shorthanded Ponderosa

69-24 game was never close as Falcons used opportunity to practice

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Highlands Ranch girls basketball coach Caryn Jarocki emphasized that the Falcons’ lopsided 69-24 win over Ponderosa on Jan. 18 was important.

The score of the game was never close after the start and Jarocki made sure her players didn’t start making silly mistakes in the runaway victory in the Mustangs’ gym.

“We expect more perfection in a game like that, less turnovers and more assists,” said Jarocki. “Our expectations are higher. We also get to play some kids that haven’t gotten to play in a long time due to our incredible insane schedule.

“We worked on a couple defenses that we’ve been working on in practice. It was a good time to practice that. Also we worked on sharing the ball. We had a couple plays that we hadn’t run in a while.”

Highlands Ranch jumped out to an 8-0 lead against the shorthanded Mustangs and built up a 36-12 halftime lead. The Falcons outscored Pondo 26-2 in the third quarter to swell their lead to 48 points at 62-14.

Alex Pirog, a 6-foot-3 senior, freshman Tori Baker and senior guard Emily Hovasse each had 14 points. Freshman Ezra Simonich added 11 points.

Pirog. Simonich and Bailey Williamson each had six rebounds while Katie Johanning had eight assists for Highlands Ranch.

Highlands Ranch, ranked third in the Class 5A poll of CHSAANow.com, improved to 9-4 overall and 2-0 in the Continental League.

“We’re moving in a positive direction, not as fast as I would like,” added Jarocki. “Movement is movement. We need to keep growing towards the end.”

Ponderosa, which slipped to 7-6 overall and 0-1 in the Continental League, was without head coach Cory White and two players who were sidelined because of COVID.

The Mustangs had only six players at practice the day before the game against Highlands Ranch.

“We knew what we were up against,” said assistant coach Mark Roberts, who is also Pondo’s girls softball coach. “They are talented and we were pretty wounded when our head coach is gone and two of our players. We had eight players. We kind of laughed about it. We had more coaches on the bench than we did subs.”

Senior Kaitlin Kyle, the leading scorer in the league, led the Mustangs with 12 points and all her points came on four three-point baskets.

Highlands Ranch made it a sweep over Ponderosa as the Falcons boys team notched a 60-51 win over the Mustangs in a game played at Highlands Ranch.

Senior Sasha Stelkic had 15 points for Ranch and senior Mason Moyle chipped in 14 points and eight assists. Junior Lezer Barber had eight points and seven of the 18 steals for the Falcons in the game.

Sophomore Noah Wilheim scored 14 points for Pondo.

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