BASKETBALL: Tribe, Monarchs battle out old EYL rivalry

The Tulare Union Tribe and the Exeter Monarchs face off on the court for the first time since 2018, Tribe comes out victorious ahead of league play

TULARE – In their final game before league play begins, the Tulare Union Tribe faced an old rival, the Exeter Monarchs, for the first time in five years and defeated them 58-37.

For a night, an old East Yosemite League rivalry was reborn between the Exeter Monarchs and the Tulare Union Tribe. The last time they played against each other was five years ago, that meant the seniors weren’t even in high school yet. This go around, the Tribe came out on top winning 58-37 after four quarters of tough play. 

 “We always like playing Exeter, it goes back to the old EYL days,” Tulare Union head coach Mark Hatton said. “It’s a great rivalry. The kids felt it tonight and Exeter played very hard.”

As teams approach league play, they’re beginning to come together as fully developed teams. The Tribe had a full roster present for the game and all players were able to get time on the court to develop and prepare for league opponents. 

It was a close game for the first quarter, but the Tribe began to pull ahead in the second. The Monarchs faced nearly twice as many penalties as the Tribe, which put them at a disadvantage as the home team took advantage of the free throw opportunities to pad their score. In the second half, it wasn’t much better for the Monarchs, and the Tribe was ahead by 13 points at the end of the third. Throughout the fourth, they stretched that lead to 21 points. 

“We were in foul trouble and we’re a young team, we’re developing,” Exeter’s head coach Eli Garver said. “Our lone senior probably had 16 minutes [of play], at most. I bet if we went five-on-five we’d match up good with them, but their depth, and they’re a big school.”

With Tulare Union’s roster, they can rotate players in and out of positions, giving them time to rest, while many of Exeter’s starters play for most of the game, which can be tiring and frustrating as the visiting team. The Tribe also has size on their side, with quite a few older, taller players, while Exeter has only one senior and quite a few underclassmen. It was a matchup of one team at the peak of their program, heading in with the goal to win a valley championship, against a team that’s working on building and growing.

With Tulare Union’s roster, they can rotate players in and out of positions, giving them time to rest, while many of Exeter’s starters play for most of the game, which can be tiring and frustrating as the visiting team. The Tribe also has size on their side, with quite a few older, taller players, while Exeter has only one senior and quite a few underclassmen. It was a matchup of one team at the peak of their program, heading in with the goal to win a valley championship, against a team that’s working on building and growing.

“We’ve got to win five on the road and three at home,” Hatton said. “That’s our plan. One game at a time.”

Both teams are heading into tough leagues after the shakeup this year. Tulare Union along with the other two Tulare high schools moved from the East Yosemite League to the West Yosemite League, joining Dinuba, Hanford and Lemoore. Tulare Union will start off their league schedule with a big game on the road against the Lemoore Tigers on Jan. 10.

“[Playing a big school like Tulare Union] is good to get us ready for league play,” Garver said. “CVC’s a big team, they’re physical. It’s good for us to get ready.”

The Monarchs have shifted from the Central Sequoia league to the Tri-County league and will face tough teams such as Kingsburg, Selma, Hanford West and Central Valley Christian. It also includes teams all the way up in Fresno, such as Washington Union, who the Monarchs will face at home on Jan. 11 to kick off league play.

Start typing and press Enter to search