Exeter splits with ESL foes

By Tom Price Jr.

Three days after a heart-breaking loss to Orosi in double-overtime the Exeter Monarchs made sure to take care of business in the first overtime of Friday's 58-48 East Sequoia League win over Lindsay.

In the overtime period the Monarchs outscored the Cardinals 10-0, getting baskets from Drew Branch, Jacob Johnson, Aaron Lopez, Kurtis Stutsman and a free throw from Morgan Munger. Branch helped the Monarchs pull away by grabbing pivotal defensive rebounds.

"To hold them to one shot per possession takes a lot of pressure off our offense," Exeter coach Jim Mitchell said. "It gave us the freedom to do what we wanted to do."

With six minutes remaining, getting into the overtime period seemed out of reach for Exeter. After a Pablo Rios three-pointer extended the Cardinals lead to 46-36 with less than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, a Luis Balderas steal gave Exeter the momentum. The Monarchs press continually forced Cardinal mistakes that resulted in points.

"Our kids were able to stay in front of their players," Mitchell said. "When we were down by 10 we started to play desperate, because we were. And once that downward spiral started for them it was hard to stop."

With 3:23 left in the game Balderas tapped the ball away from Lindsay guard John Gonzalez at mid-court and bounced the ball to Stutsman who finished with a layup and cut the lead to 46-40.

"After Tuesday's game I don't think I could handle another loss like that one," Stutsman said. "It was nice to have a good one for a change."

Missed free throws and turnovers -- 2-of-7 from the line and nine turnovers -- continued to hurt the Cardinals in the fourth quarter.

With a near capacity crowd chanting "defense" Munger silenced the arena with 2:17 left on a drive to the basket that resulted in a two-point goal and a free throw. Munger sank the free throw and evened the game at 48.

"I saw the lane and I just took it," Munger said. "When I was shooting the free throw all I could think was make it."

For the complete story pick up a copy of The Exeter Sun.

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