Monroe players hug after a tough loss during a Class 3A state regionals game against Roosevelt at Roosevelt High School on in Seattle. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Monroe players hug after a tough loss during a Class 3A state regionals game against Roosevelt at Roosevelt High School on in Seattle. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Monroe’s charmed run ends against Roosevelt in 3A state regionals

After winning three loser-out games to reach state, the Bearcats struggle with the Rough Riders’ tenacious press in a 58-37 loss.

SEATTLE — After several hard-fought showings throughout districts, the Monroe High School girls basketball team met its match in the state regionals.

The No. 18-seeded Bearcats notched wins in three Class 3A District 1 loser-out games to earn a matchup in a state regional opening round against 15th-seeded Roosevelt, but Monroe fell 58-37 to the Rough Riders on Tuesday night and was eliminated from postseason play.

“We were so excited about how we were playing over the last couple weeks,” Monroe head coach Tyson Horner said. “I felt like our defense and our culture was good and we closed out some really close games. … We just popped a flat tire tonight.”

Roosevelt’s full-court press pestered Monroe (13-12), particularly in the first half, as the Bearcats struggled to find quality looks on the offensive end.

“We probably had more turnovers than shot attempts,” Horner said. “Credit to them, they came out and executed their style and they got us on our heels and out of our rhythm that we’ve been playing with.”

Junior guard Halle Keller carried Monroe with a team-high 19 points and went 11-for-14 from the line, including 5-for-6 in the opening period.

Monroe’s Halle Keller (23) goes up for a layup during a Class 3A state regionals game against Roosevelt at Roosevelt High School on Tuesday in Seattle. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Monroe’s Halle Keller (23) goes up for a layup during a Class 3A state regionals game against Roosevelt at Roosevelt High School on Tuesday in Seattle. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Sophomore Mya Mercille added six points and junior 6-footer Cascadia Yates chipped in five, but their efforts weren’t enough to claw back against a speedy and athletic Roosevelt squad.

The Rough Riders (15-11) led 16-11 at the end of the first, with most of the Bearcats’ offensive production coming at the free-throw stripe.

After leading 29-19 at intermission, Rough Riders freshman Emma Curtis went on a scoring binge in the third, dropping 12 of her game-high 20 points as Roosevelt sped up the pace and took a 50-31 advantage entering the fourth.

The Bearcats hung up just six points in the final quarter as their season fell two wins short of an appearance at the Tacoma Dome during next week’s Hardwood Classic.

With a roster featuring eight juniors and no seniors, Monroe looks to build on what was an impressive late-season push for the young group.

“There’s a hunger and a confidence about them,” Horner said of his returning group, “also some humility in knowing that there’s a lot of work to be done. Just because they’re young, that doesn’t mean anybody’s going to give them anything when they get a little older next year.”

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