Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Mark Cardoza goes up for one of his game-high 18 points in Friday’s 67-46 victory over Mendota.
The Madera Coyote boys basketball team capitalized on Mendota turnovers to outscore the Aztecs 39-17 in the second and third quarters for a 67-46 victory in Joe Flores Gym.
However, the Aztecs outscored the Coyotes 29-28 in the first and fourth quarters and also forced more turnovers (26-22) in the non-league match-up Friday evening.
“We had to make some adjustments to their press break and we were able to get some easy buckets,” head coach Mike Hawkins said. “We wanted to push the ball and not let them set up. We got some easy offense and that sparked us, as well.”
Twelve Coyotes scored in Friday’s game, led by 18 from Mark Cardoza. He also pulled down 14 rebounds and had seven blocked shots.
“Mark is a strong kid and, around the hoop, he can finish well,” Hawkins said. “When he started going, they collapsed on him and that opened up the perimeter.”
K’Veon Jones had 13 points with three steals. Michael Green scored five points, but also dished out six assists. Travon Ray scored three points, but pulled down seven rebounds.
However, the Coyotes committed 26 turnovers, including 10 in the second quarter when they outscored Mendota
“We kind of got a little lax on our passing,” Hawkins said. “Going down the stretch, we can’t have those turnovers.”
Mendota scored the first bucket of the game, but the Coyotes scored the next eight points. Cardoza found Jones for a layup. then, Raeshaun Hill got a steal and scored with a layup. Jones and Green closed the run with two free throws each.
The Aztecs scored on a layup and a short jumper to cut Madera’s lead to two. Green sent a pass to Michael Hartley who found Stetson Nelson for an easy layup.
The Aztecs came back with a pair of layups to tie the score at 10 before Arthur Flores scored on a layup of his own.
After Mendota put back a miss to tie the score, Green found Cardoza for a short bucket. The Aztecs hit a free throw for a 14-13 Coyote lead at the end of the first quarter.
Cardoza continued his dominance down low for the Coyotes, recording three straight blocked shots and coming down with the rebounds. At the other end, Komari Law hit Madera’s lone 3-pointer for a 17-13 lead.
After a Mendota 3-point play, Green found Jones for back-to-back layups, the second coming on a backcourt Green steal. Travon Ray made two free throws for a seven point lead. Mendota came back with a bucket and a 3-pointer to cut the lead to two.
Gabriel Villegas made a driving layup and Green made a free throw for a 26-21 lead.
Madera committed four turnovers over the next minute and couldn’t add to its lead until Law got a steal and found Green for a layup. The Aztecs answered with a layup to cut the lead to five.
However, the Coyotes closed out the first half with six straight points — a seven-foot pull-up jumper from Green, a layup by Hartley from Green and a Hartley short jumper — for a
34-23 halftime lead.
“We thrive on our defense,” Hawkins said. “When we get plays like that defensively, it’s an easy way for us to get going after starting off sluggish.”
Mendota opened the second half with a layup to get within double figures. However, Cardoza answered with a layup. The Aztecs came back with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to eight.
Madera scored the next eight points to take control of the game. Green found Cardoza with a layup. Flores hit a 10-foot jumper, then stole the inbounds pass and made a layup after a spin move.
After a steal by hill, Cardoza made two free throws for a 44-28 lead. Hill extended the run to 9-0 with a free throw. Mendota stopped the run with a layup, but the Coyotes continued to roll.
Over the final four minutes of the quarter, the Coyotes forced three turnovers and pulled down four rebounds to keep Mendota quiet.
Hill began an eight-point run with two free throws. Jones made a free throw and then missed on a dunk attempt after a steal, but Cardoza was there to put back the miss.
Cardoza put back another miss and Law made a free throw for a 53-30 lead at the end of the third quarter with a 17-2 run.
Mendota opened the fourth quarter scoring with a bucket, but Ray made a free throw and Nelson made a layup.
The Aztecs answered with a 3-pointer and 3-point play for a quick 6-0 run. Cardoza put back another miss to keep the lead to 20.
After an Aztecs’ bucket, Jones made three free throws. Mendota hit a mid-range jumper and Cardoza scored down low and added two free throws for a 65-42 lead with 2:41 left in the game.
Mendota scored the next four points and Ricardo Bueno scored off an assist from Ali Eschick for the 67-46 final.