Exeter's No. 2 seeded boys basketball team trailed No. 7 Caruthers 28-22 at halftime of after scoring just four second period points.
The Blue Raider zone defense gave the Monarchs fits. The loud gym made it hard for the Exeter players to hear their coach. As for their eyes, it was all too apparent that the favorites had overlooked the underdogs.
But on the other side of the break, Exeter reversed its own fortunes. The Monarchs held Caruthers to only two points in the third quarter en route to a 52-44 victory in the Central Section Division IV quarterfinals Friday night in Exeter.
"We decided to guard people," Exeter head coach Randy Reeder said when asked how his team turned the game around. "Down six, we knew had to start defending a little better."
Reeder said Brandon Briones and Eli Garver set the tone for Exeter (21-6, 6-4) defensively. Caleb Harden pitched in by grabbing 11 rebounds. He led the offense with 14 points followed by 12 from Jordan Bayne, 11 from Garver and nine from Briones. Cody Tilley was the only other Monarch to score and finished with six points.
"I think the boys were surprised Caruthers came out and played so well," Reeder said. "Even I was probably looking past this game. It was a good wake up call. It doesn't matter who you play. There's a lot of parody in this division. Anyone can be anyone."
Kushbir Thind and Gursavak Gill each scored 11 points for Caruthers (20-8, 9-1) while Elijah Clark and Brandon Waltrip each scored nine. Albert Gonzalez was the only other Blue Raider to score and finished with four points.
Exeter now advances to the D-IV semifinals, where it will host No. 3 Sierra at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27. Sierra, which lost 76-49 to Central Valley Christian in last year's D-IV Valley championship, defeated No. 6 Lindsay 64-60 in the quarterfinals to prevent an all-Tulare County match up. Exeter beat Sierra 63-47 to open the Dinuba Tournament on Dec. 19, 2012, but Reeder insists the Chieftains are much better now than they were then.
Clovis 111, Redwood 57: Emilay Shandrew picked up a couple of wins for the Rangers in their nonleague meet against the Cougars.
Shandrew won the 100-yard freestyle (58.57) and the 100 backstroke (1:06.16). Erika Blaylock took first place in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.57).
Cloivs 111, Redwood 58: Sam Peckinpah won the 50-yard freestyle for the Rangers in their nonleague meet against the Cougars. Peckinpah was second in the 100 freestyle (52.51).
COS 12, Gavilan 1: Brigit Godfrey batted 3-for-4 with a triple, three runs, a RBI and a stolen base during a blowout win for the Giants over the Rams.
Tilia Hagen and Frankie Jo Perez each tripled as well. Haen batted 2-for-2 with two runs and three RBI. Perez batted 1-for-2 with two runs and a RBI. Five other players doubled as the Giants collected eight extra-base hits and scored eight first inning runs.
Mayleen Mazon was the winning pitcher. She allowed one earned run on four hits with a strikeout and no walks. Perez pitched two shutout innings with a walk and two hits allowed.
COS 9, Gavilan 1: The Giants completed a sweep of the Rams with a second consecutive game shortened to five innings.
Honesty Rodriguez batted 3-for-3 with a run and RBI. Klarissa Garcia batted 3-for-4 with three RBI. Taylor Wright batted 2-for-4 with two runs, two RBI, a double and a stolen base. Godfrey batted 2-for-4 with two runs, a RBI and a stolen base.
Jenna Facchini pitched all five innings, allowing one unearned run on five hits with one strikeout and no walks.
COS 8, Taft 2: The Giants improved to 2-0 in Central Valley Conference play with a win over the Cougars at COS.
Preson Scott had another big game at the plate with three hits and two runs. Scott had both of the Giants' extra-base hits -- a double and a triple.
Matt Cota (Tulare Western) had a hit and two RBIs. Ross Feeley went 2-for-4 with two runs.
Erick McRae tossed six solid innings, allowing just one unearned run and four hits. But he was unable to receive the win, because Taft tied the game at 2-2 in the seventh after McRae departed. COS (6-5) erupted with five runs in the bottom of the seventh to take a 7-2 lead.
Tyler Beardsley (1-1) earned the winning. Beardsley struck out four in three innings.
COS 9, Sacramento 0: Morgan Cohen, Amy Clifton, Allie Rosa, Jessica Gonzalez, Mercedes Alcantar and Cerena Ortiz all won singles matches in a sweep for the Giants. Ortiz/Alcantar, Cohen/Briana Rodriguez, and Clifton/Rosa swept the doubles matches.
COS 7, Fresno City 2: Clifton, Rosa, Gonzalez, Rodriguez and Alcantar all won singles matches during a Giants win. Clifton/Gonzalez and Ortiz/Rodriguez won doubles matches.