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Monarch's Riley Montemayor takes a contested layup against Regis Jesuit's Eric Fiedler during the first half of the Coyotes' home game against the Raiders on Dec. 21, 2022. (By Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps.com)
Monarch’s Riley Montemayor takes a contested layup against Regis Jesuit’s Eric Fiedler during the first half of the Coyotes’ home game against the Raiders on Dec. 21, 2022. (By Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps.com)
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LOUISVILE — Sometimes, a team needs a “punch in the mouth” before a long break to regroup and reassess.

Monarch boys basketball learned that the hard way on a frozen Wednesday night when No. 10 Regis Jesuit came to play and buried them in a 91-64 finish. The Raiders shot lights-out in the second half as the Coyotes struggled to rebound on the offensive end, robbing them of many second-chance points.

“Definitely the best paint team we’ve faced,” junior Evan Trujillo said. “They ran the ball in transition way better than anybody else and we didn’t get back and that obviously killed us. They also played the best defense out of any team we played. We let them get hot and obviously, that didn’t work out for us.”

Despite the rough ending, Trujillo and senior shooting guard Zane Miley rose up for the Coyotes with 25 and 18 points, respectively, as the two lit up from behind the arc. They were not, however, nearly as on fire as the Raiders from downtown.

The teams kept play close throughout the first half until the Coyotes went cold for a few minutes toward the end of the second quarter, but not nearly as frigid as the -5 degree temperatures outside. That small drought allowed the Raiders to score eight unanswered points and take a five-point lead. Monarch junior Turner Heckman hit a three at the buzzer to ensure his team wouldn’t trail by too much, just 32-27, at the midway point.

Monarch's Graham Johnson drains a three under pressure from Regis Jesuit's Damarius Taylor during the first half of the Coyotes' home game against the Raiders on Dec. 21, 2022. (By Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps.com)
Monarch’s Graham Johnson drains a three under pressure from Regis Jesuit’s Damarius Taylor during the first half of the Coyotes’ home game against the Raiders on Dec. 21, 2022. (By Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps.com)

The Raiders started to pull away in the third quarter, but a 13-0 run through the middle of the fourth sunk the Coyotes past the point of no return. It didn’t help that they were off their shooting game, outside of Trujillo and Miley.

“They’re a good team, and that’s why we play them. It’s a measurement and something to learn from and get better from,” head coach Tim DeBerry said. “You know, the league’s coming and we probably needed a break. Now we’re going to take our break, regroup, and I think we’re pretty good. I think we’re going to do okay.”

The Coyotes, who sat just one spot outside of CHSAA’s Class 6A top 10 this week, will now have a couple of weeks to iron out the wrinkles that the Raiders exposed in their game. They’ll return to action on Jan. 5 when they travel to Lakewood with a 5-2 record.

“That’s a punch in the mouth right here,” Trujillo said. “We realized we’re not as good as we thought we were, but back to work and we’ll get better.”

Monarch's Dean Reeves dribbles the ball between his legs as he takes the ball down court during the first half of the Coyotes' home game against the Raiders on Dec. 21, 2022. (By Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps.com)
Monarch’s Dean Reeves dribbles the ball between his legs as he takes the ball down court during the first half of the Coyotes’ home game against the Raiders on Dec. 21, 2022. (By Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps.com)