Girls Basketball: Exeter Monarchs score 70 and 73 in wins over Woodlake and Lindsay respectively as they prepare for league
By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
EXETER – The Monarchs made a statement in their first game of the new year by defeating rival Woodlake 70-20. Exeter’s team wide shooting and speed allowed them to win their fourth straight, and fifth out of six games in the rivalry.
“We had the best night of shooting that we have had all season,” Exeter head coach Gary Hylton said. “As long as we can shoot close to what we did tonight this season we should be alright.”
Early in the first quarter Exeter’s Allison Vargas seemed to have the rhythm to make the three-point shot. On the Monarchs (12-5) first couple of transitions up the court they tried to work the outside. Each time the ball came to Vargas, and each time she made her shot count to give Exeter an 8-0 lead. Vargas did the same thing at the start of the second half when she made back-to-back three-point shots to give her a team leading 18 points. Her last two baskets gave Exeter a 39-11 lead less than a minute into the third quarter.
“We just went out there and fought, and did not let up,” Vargas said. “That was our goal from the beginning.”
Right behind Vargas in scoring was Kenedi Baxter-Jones with 16 points. Her versatility to score from anywhere on the court showed up. From outside she was 2-6 from beyond the arc, and a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line.
Jones first two free throws came as a result of her defensive skills. Exeter was in the full court press from the opening tip, and it paid off. While Woodlake (4-8) attempted to bring the ball up the pressure forced them to make an errant pass. Jones made a break for the ball, and stole it away. As she headed in for a breakaway layup she was fouled. She made both of her to make the score 5-0 less than a minute into the game.
That was only the first steal that the Monarchs defense produced that night. On account of their speed they caused eight turnovers, and countless deflected passes. For Hylton to see his defense causing so much disruption is a good sign due to the Monarchs team wide lack of height.
For Woodlake head coach Joe Torres it was a mystery on how to break the Monarchs press due to their speed. It was so difficult that the Tigers did not score their first basket until 3:10 in the first quarter. By then Exeter had already built up a 14-2 lead.
“We knew this was going to be a tough game coming in,” Torres said.
On Friday, Jan. 5, the Monarchs went on to defeat the Lindsay Cardinals (3-9) by a score of 73-47. The Woodlake Tigers also notched a win that night defeating the Central Valley Christian Cavaliers 40-35.
Up coming for the Monarchs is their Central Sequoia League home opener tomorrow night. They will face off against the Kingsburg Vikings at 7:30 p.m. Then on Monday, Jan. 15, Exeter will play the Golden Valley Bulldogs (14-4) at College of the Sequoias in the Martin Luther Kings Showcase. Tip off is set to happens at 12 p.m.
East Sequoia League play begins for the Woodlake Tigers this week as well. On Friday, Jan. 12, they will open up on the road against the Strathmore Spartans (11-7) at 6:30 p.m.