Memorable moment for Miller in Monarch’s loss
By Patrick Dillon
exeter – The final score of the Exeter Monarchs (4-22; 0-9) game against the Central Valley Christian Cavilers (16-10; 6-3) was forgotten by many before they left the Smith Gym last Friday night, Feb 9. But what happened in the last minutes of the game will live on in the minds of those who witnessed it. After being sidelined for his senior season Skylar Miller entered the game in the final minutes. He made that chance count as he scored his lone layup of the season during senior night.
With a 1:34 remaining the Monarch student section began to chant, “Put in Skylar!” They even went as far as holding up a sign with the chant written on it. Exeter head coach Luis Muro looked down to the end of his bench at the only one of his nine seniors who had not stepped foot on the court during their last home game, or this season for that matter.
“It’s really special to me because it lets me know that the school cares,” said Miller. “They are just here for me no matter what I’ve been going through.”
When Miller met the eyes of his coach he flicked his hand in a two finger wave signaling, I’m ready. All the motivation Miller need was a simple rise of the head from his coach toward the scores table and he was on his way.
Miller suffered a foot injury during his last football game back in November which ripped this basketball season from him. When that injury happened and forced him to wear a boot up until this game, it could have been easy for Miller to just quit.
Instead Miller was at every team dinner, practice, and in the good times, as well as the bad.
“[Miller] is more than just a basketball player, this kid is leadership,” said Coach Muro. “He just went far and beyond when he didn’t have to.”
The crowd erupted when they saw their long awaited hero finally step foot on the court. It was not long before Miller got the ball along the far corner of the three point line and fired his first shot of the season. While it missed it gave him the confidence that he just might score.
Only seconds later, Miller got his second chance. Giovani Perez got the ball on a turnover in the CVC zone and began to dribble it up the court. When he raised his head, he saw Miller, with a step on his man and no one between him and the basket.
Sure enough Perez fed Miller a perfect pass. When Miller caught the ball he made a direct cut toward the basket, jumped up, extended his arm, rolled the ball off his fingers and through the hoop like he had played all season long.
“It is the last time, ever, that I will put up any points at this school,” said Miller.
While Miller’s layup scored the final points in the Monarchs’ 54-29 loss to the Cavilers, this season has been about a lot more than just wins and losses.
Despite the difficulties the Monarchs had — the most obvious being forced to learn a new style of coaching for the fourth straight year — the fact that the Monarchs saw progression toward their ultimate goal of again being competitive in the Central Sequoia League (CSL) should be a source of pride for the team.
“They gave me all they could, I am really proud of them,” said Coach Muro.
Although the loss of nine seniors may be a little bit difficult to overcome in the future, the return of experienced players like Jaykob Acosta, who scored 262 points in his sophomore season, will keep their roster competitive.
The Monarchs’ final game of the season will be tonight, Feb. 15, when they hit the road to play the Dinuba Emperors at 7:30 p.m.