LOUISVILLE — Slow starts have been the biggest issue for the Monarch boys basketball team so far in the 2017-18 campaign.
Sometimes the Coyotes have found ways to overcome not-so-great opening stretches of games. Other times, they haven't.
Friday night's home game against Legend fell into the latter category.
Falling behind early, the Coyotes made several runs at the visiting Titans' lead but eventually fell 58-51 in already their sixth game through the first 10 days of the season.
"We've kind of grown into a habit of coming out slow," Coyotes head coach Stewart Brewer said. "We've done that in every game we've played and we're trying to break that habit. We played a tough team tonight and I felt like our guys battled back and executed how we needed to in the second half. We just couldn't make it all the way back."
After their most recent rough start, the Coyotes (3-3) found themselves trailing 15-5 to start the second quarter on Friday. With the Titans (3-1) ahead by seven at halftime, the Coyotes opened the second half with a 12-5 run that briefly tied the game.
Down 42-39 to start the fourth, the Coyotes cut the lead to one early on and Taye Jones hit a layup to pull them within three with 1 minute, 3 seconds left in the game. Tylor Trinh then hit a 3-pointer in the final minute that cut the lead to 53-51. But the Coyotes wouldn't get any closer than that as they were called for a blocking foul at the other end that seemed like it could have gone either way, and Legend was solid at the free-throw line in the final minutes to close out the game.
"We have a lot of seniors and we're basically asking them to change the way that they've been playing basketball since they've been in high school," Brewer said. "They're buying in to what we're trying to do and it's always nice when you have a senior class that does that. So at 3-3, the season has been solid so far."
Friday's loss was the Coyotes' third game in four nights. They defeated Chatfield on Tuesday and won 73-49 over Pine Creek in what was a late Thursday night down in Colorado Springs. Jones finished with 14 points and Keegan Johnson led the Coyotes with 16.
The Coyotes ended up with a 12-12 record at the end of last season and are off to a .500 start already this winter. Their non-conference schedule will continue to challenge them when they host Cherry Creek on Monday.
Legend 58, Monarch 51
At Monarch H.S.
LeVan 1 4-6 6, Nerwin 1 3-4 5, Elkannan 2 2-2 6, Brewer 3 0-1 8, Bruns 0 3-4 3, McCord 5 2-2 14, Bernardoni 1 0-0 2, Giglio 0 0-0 0, Tammingo 4 1-2 12. Totals 17 15-21 58.
Stimac 0 0-0 0, Jones 5 3-4 14, Davis 1 0-0 2, Alexander 1 0-0 3, Storm 0 0-0 0, Schmanski 2 4-4 6, Pontejos 0 0-0 0, Trinh 3 1-2 8, Ramsey 1 0-0 2, Johnson 7 0-1 16. Totals 20 10-11 51.
Score by quarters:Legend 15121516—58
3-point field goals — Legend (7): Tamminga 3, McCord 2, Brewer 2; Monarch (5): Johnson 2, Trinh, Alexander, Jones. Total fouls — Legend 15, Monarch 22. Fouled out — Trinh.