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Boys basketball: Upbeat Monarch falls to Rock Canyon

Matt Chen scored a career-high 15 points

  • Brent W. New/BoCoPreps.com

    LOUISVILLE — Monarch's Matt Chen looks for a teammate in Coyotes loss to Rock Canyon

  • Brent W. New/BoCoPreps.com

    LOUISVILLE — Monarch's Trey Stewart goes up for a bucket in Coyotes' loss to Rock Canyon

  • Brent W. New/BoCoPreps.com

    LOUISVILLE — Monarch's Deuce Humphrey looks for open lane in Coyotes' loss to Rock Canyon

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LOUISVILLE — Monarch point guard Matt Chen is convinced that good vibes are surrounding the basketball program following its seven-win campaign a year ago.

What kind of success on the court that’ll lead to — well, that remains to be seen.

The senior scored a career-high 15 points as the Coyotes and their new coach, Tim DeBerry, lost to Rock Canyon 66-56 in their home opener Tuesday night.

Undeterred, Chen painted a promising picture going forward.

“We didn’t communicate with each other as much (last season),” Chen said. “But this year,(DeBerry) really emphasized becoming a team, a closer team and a better team together. So, definitely a better vibe this year. A more positive vibe.”

Joey Covington added nine points and Brayden Barry had another eight for Monarch (2-3), which lost its third straight game after starting the year with consecutive wins.

“We’ve only been together about legitimately two weeks — two or three weeks,” said DeBerry, who takes over following the program’s first losing season in a decade. “They’re learning, they have no quit and they’re trying their hardest. And that’s what I like about them. There’s no quit in us.”

Nick Fallin had 16 points and Jake Hassett added 14 for the Jaguars (3-1), who won their third straight game. Quint Geck, meanwhile, scored eight of his 11 points in a 1-minute, 6-second stretch late in the third quarter to push the Highlands Ranch team’s lead to double digits.

Then in the fourth, the Coyotes trailed by as many as 14 on three different occasions but continued to claw back. Their defense flew around the court and made nothing easy. Swats at the rim, smothering one-on-one pressure, a few nice picks from Covington — the tenacious play was evident by the 26 foul shots in the quarter (17 for Rock Canyon).

From the line, the Jaguars went 10-for-17 in the fourth and 17-of-26 in the game. Monarch went 15-of-21.

“I’ve noticed this year we’ve been a lot better and focused coming out of the second half,” said Monarch senior Trey Stewart, who added seven points. “Everyone wants to win. There’s a new culture.”

Earlier, the Coyotes built a lead as Chen and Stewart delivered back-to-back 3s midway through the second, and AJ Tennessen’s lay-in with 3:56 left in the quarter made it 24-19.

The Jaguars responded — starting with a 12-0 run led by a pair of free throws and a splashed deep ball from Fallin.

“We didn’t hit a couple shots and they’re a good team,” DeBerry said. “They shoot the ball about as good as anybody. That’s what good teams do. But we kept fighting, kept believing, that’s all we try to say.”

After half, Chen kept the Coyotes close with a consecutive makes in the third. Geck answered each with a make of his own.

The Jags junior’s second corner 3 of the quarter made it 49-38 with 54 seconds left.

Monarch will travel to Chatfield Thursday.