Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
The Madera Coyote girls basketball team celebrates winning the Madera Shootout championship after a 63-44 victory over Kerman on Thursday in Joe Flores Gym.
If there was any question who the dominant team was in the Madera Shootout girls basketball tournament this week at Madera High School, it was put to rest when the Madera Coyotes easily defeated the Kerman Lions 63-44 in the championship game.
“The tournament went almost exactly how I thought it would go,” head coach Jason Smith said. “I was really pleased with our growth as a team. We’ve been working on our pressure to try to give ourselves easy buckets. Sometimes our half court offense sputters. This was exactly what we needed to start seeing those things we were missing.”
The Coyotes outscored their Madera Shootout opponents by an average of 63-31.
“When you look at the way we won the games, we played unselfishly and got everyone involved,” Smith said. “You don’t know where the offense came from.”
In the championship game, Ashley Hansen, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, led the team with 20 points. Fellow senior guard Maria Hernandez added 13 points. Alyssa Burton scored 13 and freshman Briann Houghton added 12.
“I’ve been trying to get Ashley Hansen to be more of a facilitator to try to get the defenses off of her,” Smith said. “That way, I can unleash her against the good teams. Maria and Ashley on the he court together are nails. We need to find a way to keep up that momentum offensive and defensively. We need to find the rotation to keep those players fresh.”
The Coyotes jumped out to a 28-17 lead at the end of the first half and took control of the game by outscoring the Lions 21-11 in the third quarter for a 49-29 lead.
“Against a good Kerman, team, we got a lot of steals and easy buckets,” Smith said. “We still have a lot of growth to do.”
The Coyotes don’t get much of a break. They will play in the Mission Oak tournament in Tulare, beginning Tuesday.
Madera 62, Coalinga 39
After two wins on Monday to open the Madera Shootout, the Coyotes faced a tough second-day opponent with the Coalinga Horned Toads, who proved to be more resilient than anticipated.
Burton led the team with 18 points and seven rebounds while Alyssa Fernandez added 10 points and five rebounds while nine Coyotes scored.
Hernandez scored eight with three steals and Brianna Rubalcaba added seven. Hansen was hit with early foul trouble, but still scored six with five steals.
The Coyotes opened the game by scoring the first seven points, five from Rubalcaba who hit a 3-pointer and a layup. Burton put back a Rubalcaba miss for the early lead.
After Coalinga made a free throw, the Coyotes went on a 15-0 run, beginning with a Burton layup off a Rubalcaba assist. Burton then put back her own miss.
With five minutes left in the first, Burton made a free throw and Houghton put back Burton’s missed free throw for a short bucket.
Hernandez followed with a bucket and turned a steal into a layup. Burton put back her own miss and was fouled on another bucket for a 22-1 lead.
Coalinga scored the next six points before a Fernandez layup. The Horned Toads hit a shot at the buzzer for a 24-9 Madera lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Coyotes opened the second quarter with a 10-point run. Burton made a layup and Hansen found Houghton for a bucket. Hansen hit Hernandez for a layup and then made two free throws and put back a blocked shot for a 34-9 lead.
Coalinga converted a 3-point play and hit a jumper in between two Hansen free throws to cut the lead to 36-14.
However, a Fernandez 3-pointer and a Hernandez layup, off a Fernandez assist, gave the momentum back to the Coyotes.
Coalinga hit two free throws, but Madeline McNeil made back-to-back offensive putback for a 45-16 lead at the half.
It took more than four minutes before either team made a field goal in the second half. Houghton made a free throw with 5:20 left and Coalinga made two free throws with four minutes left.
The field goal drought ended when Hansen found Burton for a short bucket. After a Burton free throw, Coalinga hit a 3-pointer, but Hansen had an answer, finding Burton, again, for a layup.
Fernandez hit a 3-pointer, Lexi Carmona made a free throw and Rubalcaba made two more for an 8-0 run and a 57-21 lead, Madera’s biggest of the game.
Coalinga cut into the lead with a free throw and Janessa Fernandes made a free throw near the end of the third for a 58-23 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Horned Toads outscored the Coyotes 16-4 in the quarter. Madera got field goals from Fernandez and McNeil. However, the Coyotes committed 12 turnovers to help the Horned Toads cut into their lead. The Coyotes were able to close the game out for a 62-39 win.
Madera 58, Kennedy 12
The Coyotes put the clamps on defensively against the Kennedy-Delano Thunderbirds and allowed just two second half points in a 46-point rout Wednesday.
Burton led the team with a double-double, scoring 19 points with 10 rebounds. Hansen scored nine with five assists. Ximena Escobar and Houghton each had eight. Hernandez didn’t score, but led the team with six of Madera’s 13 steals. Addyson Smith scored five points with nine rebounds, including five offensive.
The Thunderbirds stayed close to the Coyotes early in the game, tying the game at four before the Coyotes went on an 11-0 run.
Burton started the run with a free throw. Houghton put back a miss and Hansen found Houghton for a layup. Hansen then found Burton for another layup and hit Escobar for, yet another layup. Fernandez hit a 15-footer and the Coyotes led 15-4.
The Thunderbirds hit a jumper at the first quarter buzzer to cut Madera’s lead to nine.
After an Escobar free throw, Kennedy hit a 3-pointer. The Coyotes answered with a 12-1 run to hit the halftime break leading 28-10.
Burton started the run with an offensive putback and added another short jumper. Fernandez put back a miss.
Hansen showed off her quarterbacking skills with a long pass to Burton for a layup. She hit Burton, this time from a lot closer, for another layup. After a Kennedy free throw, Hernandez found Smith for a layup before halftime.
The Coyotes continued the run into the second half, extending it to 23-1 in the third quarter.
Burton put back a Hernandez miss and Houghton hit a jumper. Then, Burton put back another Hernandez miss and added a short bucket. Hansen went coast-to-coast for a rebound and layup. Escobar completed the run with a free throw before Kennedy hit a jumper for a 39-12 Madera lead.
Escobar made a layup off a nice pass from Smith to start the next run. Smith added a free throw to open the lead to 30 points heading into the fourth quarter.
Smith put back a miss to open the fourth quarter scoring. Hansen drained a 3-pointer, Fernandez made two free throws and Rubalcaba made a 3-pointer for a 52-12 lead and invoke the 40-point running clock.
The Coyotes closed the quarter with a bucket from Burton and layups from Fernandez and Escobar for the 58-12 victory.
Madera closed the game on a 42-3 run while holding Kennedy scoreless in the fourth quarter.