By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
EXETER – As they have done all season the Monarchs failed to put together a complete four quarters of basketball. While last Wednesday’s home match against last place Kingsburg held some high points the start of the third quarter was not one of them. Exeter committed six turnovers as they lost 74-66.
“We haven’t put all four quarters together for us to win a game,” Exeter head coach Luis Muro said. “Give [Kingsburg] credit they came down here and wanted it, but we should win this game.”
At the end of the first half the Exeter Monarchs (6-14,1-5) were very much in the game, and only trailed Kingsburg (9-15,1-5) by four points, 41-37. Despite the Vikings senior guard Jeremy Ray sinking 3 of 4 triples in the last five minutes. While his shooting motion seemed effortless the Monarch defense was playing a step away, thus giving him plenty of room to step into the shot.
“If we would have been playing tight defense he would not have shot that well,” Muro said.
Exeter was able to counter with a couple baskets of their own. Tristan Weaver, who led the Monarchs with 19 points, hit a triple and double to keep his team in contention.
However, it was all undone in the first seven minutes of the third quarter. While Exeter tried to run their offense Kingsburg grabbed six steals. Of which two came when they tried to work the ball toward the baseline. In all Exeter committed 15 turnovers.
The Monarchs were fortunate enough that Kingsburg was only able to score eight points off the turnovers. But their first basket did not come until 3:55 left in the quarter. Josh Perez hit a triple to make it 47-40 at the time.
As the second half progressed Exeter continued to build momentum. Weaver scored another double and triple to pull his team within two, 51-49 at the end of the quarter.
That spurred Exeter to continue to keep the game close in the early going in the fourth quarter. At one point Exeter cut their deficit down to one point, 56-55. Jaykob Acosta, who played a big part in getting the Monarchs back into the game with his 13 points, drove the lane. This time however, he dished it again to Weaver for a double.
“They are playing the way they are suppose to,” Muro said. “The problem is that I don’t have five guys who can do that.”
Playing from behind was not Exeter’s only problem on this night. As a team they shot 12-30 (40%) from the free throw line. With type of percentage it was clear to Muro that they were not going to win.
Now in a tie at the bottom of the Central Sequoia League, with Kingsburg, it is back to the drawing board for Exeter, and the schedule does not get any easier. The Monarchs suffered another loss at the hands of the Immanuel Eagles 93-43. Last Tuesday Exeter traveled to take on the Selma Bears. Final of which happened after press time. The road trip continues for Exeter as they take on the Central Valley Christian Cavaliers tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m.