AURORA — Fran Belibi doesn't always have to do everything. Sometimes she just needs to do enough.
And after getting into early foul trouble on Thursday night, she did what she needed to do and got help across the board as the Class 5A No. 1 Regis Jesuit Raiders grabbed a 37-34 win over No. 4 Highlands Ranch.
"It's always (frustrating) when that happens," Belibi said. "They have great post players. In my mind, I couldn't get into foul trouble. It was frustrating."
But her teammates were there to pick up the slack. The Raiders (14-3 overall, 4-0 Continental) trailed by three after the first quarter and Belibi was forced to the bench with three fouls.
Sophomore Jada Moore make two key baskets to help Regis take a slim lead into halftime. It was clear as the game played out that every point was going to be important for both sides. Avery Vansickle knocked down one free throw and Jasmine Gaines hit a field goal and a free throw to help the Raiders take the lead.
"My teammates really stepped up," Belibi said.
And everyone stepped up defensively in the third quarter. Regis only managed to put up six points, but they held the Falcons (14-4, 4-1) without a field goal until Kasey Neubert made a layup with 35 seconds left in the quarter.
Neubert scored a team-high 12 for Highlands Ranch, but she and no one else could really make anything happen offensively in the third.
"That the biggest thing about winning championships is defense," Regis coach Carl Mattei said. "We've been working really hard on that, on man-to-man and on jumping through screens."
The Falcons regained their rhythm in the fourth as Tommi Olson scored five of her eight points in the quarter. But Regis was ready to answer. Jasmine Gaines knocked down a big 3-pointer to bring the crowd alive and Belibi's lone field goal of the quarter was a put-back that kept the Falcons at arm's length.
Overall, the Raiders showed that that they don't have just talent, but depth and versatility to add.
"Our biggest thing is next man up," Moore said. "If one player is down the next one just has to come and step up."
Regardless of outcome, Thursday's game was crucial for the outlook of the Continental League. Three of the top six teams in the state come out of that league and for the Raiders to come away with a win over Highlands Ranch with Belibi in foul trouble is something that should be noted for future opponents.
"This game is kind of a statement game based on what they did to us last year," Mattei said.
The Raiders will get the weekend to rest and then will travel to Castle View on Tuesday. The Sabercats are currently undefeated in league play and are ranked No. 6 in the CHSAANow.com poll.