Monarchs conquer Vikings, fall to Eagles

It was a week of highs and lows for the Monarchs as they were narrowly defeated by Immanuel on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 56-53. However, in a back-and-forth match with Kingsburg, Exeter managed to secure a home court win, 57-49, finishing the week in victory.

After Tuesday’s league challenge, Exeter’s record stood at 19-7, three of their losses having taken place during league. Next up, the Monarchs confronted the Kingsburg Vikings in a Central Sequoia challenge, on Friday, Feb. 12. Exeter was looking to improve its record, as well as regain their confidence, heading into the playoffs. The Vikings went into the challenge with a nearly identical record to Exeter, 19-6 after their 63-34 league win over Central Valley Christian.

It was a tight first quarter as both teams traded off points. Exeter secured their dominance early on, thanks to sophomore Allison Vargas’ triple three-pointers. However, Kingsburg managed to slowly cut into Exeter’s lead. At the end of the first quarter the score stood at 19-19, leaving the crowd wondering who would take the victory.

It proved to be Exeter’s night as the Monarchs went on to score 12 points in the second, while Kingsburg only managed to score six points through five free throw attempts. As the second period came to a close the score stood at 31-25, with the Vikings trailing closely behind the Monarchs.

Vargas worked her magic once again as she shot two three pointers in the opening of the third. But much like the second, Kingsburg was able to capitalize off of four Exeter fouls which resulted in the Vikings taking control in the third quarter, threatening the Monarchs’ lead, 39-35.

It was anyone’s game as the fourth opened strong when Exeter’s Lou Lou Souza sank a quick two pointer. Sophomore Kenedi Baxtor-Jones followed Souza with a three pointer extending Exeter’s lead, 44-38. Kingsburg quickly began putting points on the board as they desperately attempted to cut into the Monarchs’ lead. In the rush for dominance Kingsburg began committing a number of fouls, which Exeter was able to capitalize on. After five consecutive fouls made on Exeter the score stood at 55-49 with less than 30 seconds of play remaining. A final foul made on Exeter’s Valerie Vargas sealed Kingsburg fate, as Vargas sank both shots.

Much like in their recent victory over Selma, in which the Monarchs narrowly defeated the Bears, 67-65, coach Hylton shared, “Again, our bench really came into play.” He went on to say that Vargas’ three-point run in the first quarter set the pace for the remainder of the match, “She helped us out when we were in need.”

The Exeter Monarchs girls basketball team has a home game vs. Dinuba tonight, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Hylton feels confident in his team’s ability to take it all the way,

“We just have to keep it rolling into playoffs.”

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