Boys Basketball: Monarchs outmatched in tough Central Sequoia League

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Back-to-back losses to Valley Champions Selma and Immanuel send Exeter down the CSL ranks

By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN

EXETER – It is no mystery that the Exeter Monarchs are in one of the toughest leagues in the area. Sometimes Exeter plays to the tone of being overmatched. The most recent example to that fact came last week. On the heels of a 94-58 loss at the Immanuel Eagles on Wednesday, Exeter lost to the Selma Bears 78-35 on Friday.

“I don’t want my kids to lose hope,” Exeter head coach Luis Muro said. “But to play two defending Valley champions it is rough. But this tells us where we need to be.”

The duo of William Pallesi and Tiveon Stroud for the Selma Bears (13-8, 3-0) seemed unstoppable all night. From the perimeter Pallesi hit 6-10 three-point shots on his way to scoring 20 points.

Then there was Stroud. The 6-foot-6 senior drove the basket at will on his way to a game leading 26 points. And by the time the first half came to a close Selma had a commanding 48-17 lead over the Exeter Monarchs (6-11, 1-2).

For much of the second half the Bears kept the pressure on by keeping their starting five in the game. In the opening minutes of the third quarter Tiveon got a couple loose balls in the open court. With his frame both ended in dunks to give him five on the night. Fouled on the second dunk he made the free throw attempt to make the score 53-17.

“This week was one of our toughest,” Muro said. “You can tell by the way they play that they are on a different level.”

Despite being overmatched Exeter went on a 7-0 run to make the score 58-25 in the middle of the third quarter. Aydan Albanez scored five of those points surprisingly inside the key.

Shortly after that the frustration that Exeter experienced all night returned. Even against Selma’s bench players Exeter sent errant passes toward the inside, or seemed to just lose control of the ball.

Then there was the game against the Immanuel Eagles last Wednesday night. Against the D-IV Valley champions the Monarchs were able to break the 50-point barrier. Blake Crookshanks led all Monarchs with 18 points. The lopsided result came from the fact that Exeter was at a height disadvantage. All but two of the Eagles’ 12 players are listed over six feet tall.

It is safe to say with these results a CSL title is out of the grasp of the Monarchs this season. With the first round of league drawing to an end, and with these types of results Exeter’s best finish seems like third. As defeated as that may sound Muro is still optimistic about this season. Already having doubled the amount of wins from last year he is confident that his team will play to the end.

This week Exeter has two matchups more of their caliber. Last night they hosted the Central Valley Christian Cavaliers. The game’s final score was reached after press time. Both teams entered the game tied for third in the CSL. On Thursday Exeter will travel to Dinuba to play the Emperors at 7:30 p.m.

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