Exeter junior Kevin Saenz talks with SV Sports
It had been nearly 50 years since Exeter's boys basketball team won a state playoff game. The Eagles soared into the second round of the PIAA-5A tournament with a hard-fought 62-57 victory over Fox Chapel on Friday. The Foxes, who made a four hour and fifteen minute trip from Pittsburgh to Reiffton, trailed by nine points in the fourth quarter. They trimmed that deficit to one on multiple occasions, but Exeter didn't relinquish its lead. Reece Garvin (12 points) made two key free throws down the stretch as the Eagles earned their first PIAA playoff win since 1974. "That's incredible. We came into this season with a chip on our shoulder from last year. We've proven everyone wrong. Nobody believed in us," said Kevin Saenz. Exeter finished (13-15, 5-7) a season ago. The Eagles captured their first District 3 championship in school history this year. They have done it with balanced scoring. Five players were in double digits against Fox Chapel. "I don't see anyone putting up numbers like we do. It's just amazing to know anybody on this team could go for 20-25 a night," replied Saenz. The 6'3 junior had 11 points including eight in the first half. Exeter was on top of the #7 seed from District 7 by seven points at the break. It was 46-39 entering the final period. Alex Kelsey had a game-high 13 points off the Exeter bench. Kam Greil, a 5'10 senior, poured in 22 points for the (15-12) Foxes. Jefferson Moorefield-Brown added 13 points. Greil and Kelsey were ejected in the final seconds as tempers flared along both sidelines. "I was just hoping and praying that nobody got hurt," said Saenz. The (24-6) Eagles have won 14 of their last 15 contests. They take on Mechanicsburg in the second round on Tuesday night at Manheim Township. Saenz, who's from Brooklyn, is a Nets fan. He told Paul Roberts of SV Sports that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are two of his favorite players. Saenz also talked about his favorite food and what he likes to do off the court.