BASKETBALL: Monarchs maul Spartans in early season win

The Exeter Monarchs beat the Strathmore Spartans to take home their second win of the season

STRATHMORE – The Exeter Monarchs boys’ basketball team won their game against the Strathmore Spartans 50-32, giving the Monarchs a 2-0 record.

The Exeter Monarchs are starting the season strong with a 2-0 record after defeating the Strathmore Spartans in their second game of the season. The Monarchs pulled ahead first in a low scoring first period and kept their lead throughout the rest of the game. Although the Monarchs are young, they have experience, while many of Strathmore’s experienced starters were out with injuries. 

“Two freshmen, three sophomores, three juniors and a senior,” Exeter head coach Eli Garver said. “They’re coming out and they’re working their tails off.”

The Monarchs pushed hard on offense, maintaining control of the ball and taking their time with the shot clock. Despite a low-scoring start, once the Monarchs were able to get a good read on the Spartans’ defense, they were able to set up their offense and pick up more shots.

Freshman point guard Aden Plyman stood out for his tenacity and hustle with the ball. He darted in and out of the Spartans’ defense to get shots off and fed balls to his teammates for points throughout the game. According to Garver, he’s one of the hardest working players on the team and one worth watching this season.

“He works his butt off every single day,” Garver said. “Every time he gets in the gym, he’s the first one in and the last one out.”

While Exeter started just one freshman, Strathmore started three, one sophomore and one junior. Five of their starting players were out with injuries. Although every Strathmore player gave it their all, many just lack experience. Six seniors graduated last year, so the team is young.

One young player to watch is Canyon Johnson, who plays center and dominates with his long arms and quick feet. Although he broke his ankle and missed much of the season last year and missed summer workouts due to his water polo commitments, Johnson was a player Exeter had to contend with.

“He does a lot of great things for us defensively,” Strathmore head coach Israel Valdez said. “He’s energetic but now it’s about playing through contact, playing a little bit more physical.”

The other center who traded off with Johnson is senior Sebastian Gonzalez, who didn’t have a ton of experience last year. He came in when his team needed him and he played good, clean basketball. When a team is shorthanded, players have to spend more time on the court then they may be used to and Gonzalez made the most of his time. The Spartans will face Mira Monte at home on Nov. 21.

Though the Monarchs played well on offense, dominating possession of the ball and never once losing their lead, they still weren’t satisfied with how many layups they gave up on defense. 

“I hate giving up layups,” Garver said. “We’ve got to get our defense down. [Against Farmersville] we gave up way too many points.”

The Monarchs will face the Woodlake Tigers at home on Nov. 21.

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