Monarchs fall to Valley Champs

By Andrea Camarena

Exeter boys basketball finished the 2007 season with an 82-63 loss to Garces Memorial in a Central Section Division IV Semifinal contest on Wednesday, Feb. 28 knocking the Monarchs out of the Valley playoffs.

The No. 4 Monarchs traveled to Bakersfield to face the No. 1 Rams in Exeter's third game of the postseason.

&#8220Of course the game didn't quite go the way we wanted it to,” Exeter head coach Randy Reeder said. &#8220But our kids never stopped playing. They showed heart and composure. They never got rattled and they never gave up.”

Exeter started the game strong and took a 25-18 lead after a tough first quarter. The Rams answered by outscoring the Monarchs 22-13 in the second quarter.

&#8220They are possibly a better team and it showed in the second half,” Reeder said. &#8220Still, everything that Garces did, our kids responded in the right way.”

Playing with steady heads and a winning mindset the Monarchs battled through the second half but trailed as they could only put up 25 points in the half while Garces added 42 to its lead.

Both teams incorporated their entire roster and spread out the scoring. Exeter senior Anthony Casciaro led all scorers with 26 points, three steals and an assist.

Senior Sam Garver added 12 more points for the Monarchs along with three rebounds and an assist.

Exeter senior Wyatt Bloetscher had 10 points in his final performance along with five rebounds, three blocks, three steals and an assist.

Thomas Cooper led Garces with 18 points and teammate Stephon Carter added 16 more.

The loss to Garces was the team's second loss in nine games and the Monarchs finished the season with an overall 20-10 record.

&#8220We over-exceeded our goals for this season,” Reeder said.

In his first season with Exeter, Reeder took the job in September and used the preseason to mold the team.

&#8220When I first got the job and met the kids, I was thinking what did I get myself into? But they're like sponges. Anything I asked them to do, they were willing to try,” Reeder said.

&#8220They believed in themselves and superseded all of my expectations.”

The team is senior loaded and Reeder's juniors will have to take control of the team next season.

&#8220I've been doing this for a while and this is a real special team,” Reeder said. &#8220What this group did for me is they've sold that hard work pays off. I think that says a lot for what these seniors have established.”

Casciaro finished the season with 448 points. Bloetscher totaled 341 points and led the team at the boards with 213 rebounds.

Exeter downed Corcoran 79-62 and Kingsburg 77-52 in route to facing Garces while the Rams received a first round bye and downed Chowchilla 59-56 before hosting the Monarchs.

After defeating the Monarchs, the Rams went on to defeat San Joaquin Memorial and take the Valley Championship on Saturday, March 3. Junior JC Mitchell finished the season with 266 points, 63 steals and 107 assists.

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