LOUISVILLE — Typically even-keeled and almost businesslike on the floor, Ben Beauchamp and Jay MacIntyre were quite fired up Thursday night.
Who could blame them?
Monarch’s senior tandem closed the regular season in grand style against rival Fairview, spearheading a spellbinding run before halftime to oust the visiting Knights 55-34 in front of a crowd MacIntyre termed “the best I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”
In avenging a gut-wrenching, 68-64 overtime loss at Fairview last month, the No. 10 Coyotes (18-5, 12-4) closed the second quarter on a spectacular 21-0 rally that was peppered with flashy transition points and a punctuating 3-pointer by MacIntyre at the halftime buzzer.
“These are the moments you play for,” Beauchamp said. “It was a great atmosphere tonight. We made some huge plays, and when you’re making those plays, there’s not a better feeling in the world.”
Beauchamp, who recently became Monarch’s all-time leading scorer, filled up the box score with 17 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in the 5A Front Range League contest. He deftly contributed to the game-breaking rally that saw the Coyotes transform a 10-10 tie to a 31-10 halftime advantage.
“Our defense just created a lot of offense,” Monarch coach Ken Niven said. “We talked early in the first quarter that we thought we could get some transition buckets, and we did.”
The 21-0 burst included a four-point play by Beauchamp – he scored a breakaway layup and was intentionally fouled, then made two free throws – and MacIntyre recorded eight of his 13 in the flurry. The signature play, though, was turned in by Erik Lawson.
MacIntyre received a pass on a fast break and shoveled to Lawson, who finished with a two-handed slam in traffic. Lawson, who Niven termed “a monster” in the paint, scored many of his 12 points on dishes from MacIntyre.
“The chemistry is good there,” MacIntyre said. “Me and E-Law are really good friends. I like seeing him dunk it. He’s been talking about dunking against Fairview all the time, and he actually did it.”
Fairview (15-8, 9-7), which played without starting forward Miles MacKenzie (head injury; will return for postseason), simply couldn’t slow down the typically patient Coyotes when they got running.
“You get that momentum going, it’s pretty hard to stop,” Fairview coach Frank Lee said. “We were glad there’s a halftime.”
The Knights received 13 points from Gabe Tierney and 11 rebounds from Sam Martin, who started for MacKenzie. Tierney’s 3-pointer cut it to 43-33 in the fourth, but Monarch closed with a 12-1 run as Fairview took some gambles defensively.
Any way you slice it, the ballgame came down to Monarch’s eruption to end the first half.
“A lot of their breaks came from offensive miscues on our part,” Lee said. “They got in the passing lanes and played physically and aggressive. You have to give them credit for that.”
Monarch, which finished third in the FRL, likely will earn a seed in the No. 2-4 range and appears destined for a first-round bye. Fairview looks bound for the middle of the bracket, but could host a first-round home game Wednesday.
Monarch 55, Fairview 34
At Monarch HS
FAIRVIEW (15-8, 9-7)
Twist 0 7-8 7, Tierney 5 2-2 13, Martin 2 3-6 7, Arehart 0 0-0 0, Pronk 1 1-2 3, Swenson 0 0-0 0, McClellan 0 0-0 0, Feauto 0 2-2 2, Hoskins 1 0-0 2. Totals 9 15-20 34.
MONARCH (18-5, 12-4)
Kirkman 3 3-7 9, Fredricksmeyer 1 0-0 2, Lawson 6 0-0 12, Beauchamp 2 13-15 17, MacIntyre 5 2-2 13, Rowan 0 0-0 0, Webb 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 18-25 55.
Score by quarters:
Fairview 8 2 13 11 — 34
Monarch 10 21 5 19 — 55
3-point field goals — Fairview (1): Tierney; Monarch (1): MacIntyre. Total fouls — Fairview 18, Monarch 14.