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LOUISVILLE — After spending the holiday break mulling what it would take to recapture their mojo, Monarch boys basketball players found the perfect tonic Tuesday night in visiting Mountain Range.

The Mustangs are one of the few teams whose pre-break struggles trumped those of the Coyotes, and for Monarch’s purposes, the visitors couldn’t have arrived at a better time.

The Coyotes opened the post-holiday schedule by walloping Mountain Range 55-36 in the Class 5A Front Range League opener, in the process shedding a three-game skid that hung over their heads throughout the break.

“We wanted to learn from our mistakes that happened before the winter break and look at conference play as a new season,” Monarch senior forward Wes Moon said. “We also really wanted to emphasize defending the home court — winning home games — so this was huge.”

Sophomore Kyle Billingsley led the way with 16 points as leading scorer Nathan Brooks (back) and fellow starter Ben Beauchamp (ankle) were limited and came off the bench. Brooks contributed 10 points and Beauchamp a pair of first-half 3-pointers.

“We have some injuries, but we came back from the break and had some pretty good practices,” said Billingsley, whose output was a season high. “We’ve improved and I think we can be pretty good if we play with the right mentality.”

The Ken Niven-coached Coyotes (3-4, 1-0), who host Brighton in a nonleague game tonight before traveling to league-rival Horizon on Friday, are hoping the performance works wonders in propelling things back in the right direction.

“We worked hard for four days straight and we felt like the work we put in paid off on the court,” said Moon, who committed to Princeton University for football over the break.

Mountain Range (1-7) never threatened, unless a few quick baskets after tipoff qualifies. Jacob Taylor was top scorer for the Mustangs with 13 points, including 11 in the third quarter, but fouled out early in the fourth.

The Mustangs cooperated by missing eight of their first nine foul shots, including all seven in the third. They seemed to be cooked after Monarch 6-foot-3 sophomore Alex Krason banked in a 3-pointer to close the first quarter.

“That raised the intensity a little,” Billingsley said. “It got us all pumped up. That’s what we want to do for the rest of the year, just come out strong in the first quarter and hopefully lead the rest of the game.”

The Coyotes understand that the remainder of their opponents won’t come in averaging less than 40 points a game, as Mountain Range did. But for one night, at least, things seemed to be rosy once again.

Monarch 55, Mountain Range 36


Quaratino 3 2-2 8, Atencio 0 1-2 1, Waufle 2 2-4 6, Taylor 6 0-2 13, Hernandez 1 0-1 2, Paz 1 0-0 2, Beach 1 0-0 2, Staab 1 0-0 2, Tanner 0 0-2 0, Badsky 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 5-13 36.


Moon 3 0-0 6, Yen 1 0-0 2, Sorenson 1 3-4 5, Billingsley 7 0-1 16, Krason 3 2-3 9, Brooks 4 2-4 10, Beauchamp 2 0-0 6, Wristen 0 0-0 0, Padilla 0 1-4 1, Niessink 0 0-0 0, Rawley 0 0-0 0, Weaver 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 8-16 55.

Score by quarters:

Mountain Range 8 7 15 6 — 36

Monarch 17 13 15 10 — 55

3-point field goals — Mountain Range (1): Taylor. Monarch (5): Billingsley 2, Beauchamp 2, Krason. Total fouls — Mountain Range 18, Monarch 11. Fouled out — Taylor, Staab. Technical fouls — None.