Girls Basketball: Fans cost Monarchs home game
Two technical fouls leave stands empty for last 35 seconds of Exeter’s 55-47 loss to Dinuba
By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
EXETER— It isn’t uncommon for things to get rowdy during a matchup, as long as it’s on the court. But when fans start inserting themselves into the game by walking onto the court and then throwing things at the refs, rowdy becomes embarrassingly unruly. And last Thursday some out-of-control fans not only besmirched the reputation of their home crowd but lost the Monarchs a critical league win.
With less than minute to go in the game, Exeter trailed Dinuba 48-47. Dinuba’s Ashley Flores was setting up at the line taking two shots after being fouled on a rebound.
That is when things began to unravel. As players moved down to the Dinuba basket, a fan walked across the court to confront the referee, resulting in a technical foul on the crowd giving two more shots to Dinuba. Flores made three of her four shots extending the Emperors’ lead to 51-47.
As Exeter tried to get back into the game, things got even worse. In an effort to preserve time, the Monarchs fouled immediately after the Emperors’ ensuing inbound pass. Shortly after the call someone threw something from the crowd and hit one of the referees in the back of the head resulting in a second technical foul.
Taking a necessary precautionary measure referees told Exeter administration to clear the gym of all non-participating persons. It took 15 minutes to clear the stands. Only the Dinuba junior varsity team remained to see the final seconds.
“I have never seen where they have cleared the entire stands,” Exeter head coach Gary Hylton. “It was hard enough to see the fan walk across the floor.”
In a statement made by the CIF Central Section assistant commissioner Jeff Cardoza, “The officials have the right to do that at any time.” While it is common for a warning to be announced to the crowd after the first technical, it is not required.
“It is a very unfortunate situation that happened, but the safety of the athletes is our number one priority at all times,” said Cardoza.
Dinuba went to the line for their four free throws. Flores made one of the first two attempts. Then Mireya Hernenadez made one of her two shots for the foul committed by Exeter.
With the gym cleared little happened the Monarchs were unable to recover and failed to score in the final seconds. Only Dinuba was able to score in regulation to take the 55-47 win.
Afterwards, the referees were escorted away from the gym, and Exeter Police arrived. According to the administrators the police were called as a precautionary measure.
“We just wanted to make sure that everyone got home safe,” said Assistant Principal Dr. Michelle Chapman.
The events that unfolded in the closing seconds left many scratching their head in disbelief at what had just transpired. While the behavior of some crowd members ultimately cost the Monarchs a game they had a chance to win, the players lack of intensity at the beginning of the game hurt just a much.
“We can’t just pick and choose when we want to play,” Hylton said. “We’ve got to play with some intensity from the beginning.”
Only three players scored for the Monarchs in the first quarter. Of which Megan Enriquez was the only player with multiple baskets. Her seven points out did both Zoie Belk, and Kenedi Baxter-Jones as both team ended the quarter tied 12-12.
At the start of the third quarter the Monarchs had fallen behind 29-24. That was when they began playing with some urgency. A layup by Teagan Bryant gave the Monarchs their first lead of the half 32-31. Bryant helped keep her team close with three more points. Along with a made triple by Allison Vargas and a layup by Belk, Exeter took a 40-37 lead into the final quarter.
Exeter was able to stay ahead briefly, but Dinuba chipped away at their lead. After a four point run Dinuba retook the lead 47-45. All Exeter could do after that was tie up the game one other time.
“We had our chances, but things just did not happen,” Hylton said.
With the first half of league completed the Monarchs currently sit in a tie for second place in the CSL with the Immanuel Eagles. They will take to the court tonight on the road against the Kingsburg Vikings at 7:30 p.m.