Girls Basketball: Monarchs start strong with early win


Experience on the court leads Exeter to a 53-27 win over Golden West

By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN

VISALIA –The Exeter Monarchs had only one team practice before they took on the Golden West Trailblazers on Thursday, Nov. 30. Despite Exeter’s limited practice, their experience on how to take a game over showed through to a 53-27 win.

“In the second half, we took some charges and played some defense. That changed the whole complexity of the game,” said Exeter head coach Gary Hylton.

At halftime, Exeter (2-1) held a 20-13 lead, but it was still anyone’s game. The Monarchs kept to their full court press defense on the Blazers (0-1) in the third quarter and throughout the rest of the second half. As a result, the pressure produced two quick steals for the Monarchs. One was by Kenedi Baxter-Jones and the other by Chloe Welch. Exeter was able to turn both steals into points which helped them extend their lead to 26-15.

With the pressure causing turnovers, Exeter went to widening their lead even more. In the third quarter, they hit from beyond the arc three times. Two of those baskets came from Allison Vargas and the other from Baxter-Jones.

“We started hitting threes in the second half, and we were able to open up our offense a little,” Coach Hylton said.

However, despite their efforts, the Monarchs were only able to extend their lead to 34-26 by quarter’s end. That was because Golden West’s Indya Smith scored a quarter-leading eight points. The four-year starter took three layups to the basket and made both of her free throw attempts.

“Indya Smith is a dynamic player,” said Golden West head coach Russell Gostanian.

The downside of her abilities as a player was, at times, Smith looked as if she was trying to win on her own. On one occasion in the third quarter, Smith took the ball in transition for a layup and missed. She was able to grab her own rebound three times. Instead of passing it out of the key, she went back up every time and missed each attempt.

In the fourth quarter, the Monarch’s offense was doing all the scoring other than one free throw by the Blazers. Exeter’s Megan Enriquez scored 12 points in the final quarter, while going 3-4 from the free throw line. That gave Enriquez a team-leading 17 points.

Exeter will look to back up one win with another. Tonight they host their first home game of the season against the Caruthers Blue Raiders at 7 p.m.

Golden West played the Woodlake Tigers on Tuesday, Dec. 5. The results of that game occurred after press time.

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