Willis: Monarch girls hoops will have hands full in opener

Monarch freshman Jasmine Jeffcoat and her teammates will face Regis Jesuit, the state’s odds-on favorite, in their opener Monday night.

Monarch is expecting a big-bounce back season for it’s girls basketball team this season, but one of the Coyotes’ largest challenges comes immediately.

It comes in the form of nationally ranked Regis Jesuit, which will be in town Monday night to take on the Coyotes in their opener.

Regis is reigning state champs and ranked No. 8 in MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national poll. Naturally, the Raiders begin the season ranked No. 1 in CHSAANow.com’s Class 5A poll.

The Raiders, who have six Division-I starters – yes, that means one comes off the bench – have opened the season with a 75-16 win against Greeley West and a 77-27 triumph against Mullen. Most notable in the Division-I fray are power forward Diani Akigbogun (Texas) and shooting guard Justine Hall (Purdue). Junior point guard Jess Lewis also appears bound for the big-school scene.

Perhaps most scary, coach Carl Mattei (206-41 varsity record) believes this could be his best squad.

“This is the best basketball team I’ve ever coached in 26 years,” said Mattei, who spent 11 years as a Division-II coach. “On top of that they’re the most unselfish team I’ve ever coached.

“I’ve got so many kids who can score and they don’t care who scores. That’s a scary team. We have all these weapons and they’ll just get the ball to whoever’s hot. So, that’s why it’s the best team I’ve ever coached.” Follow

Paul on Twitter: twitter.com/PaulWillis21