Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
ABOVE — Madera South’s Aleecia Rosel led the Stallions with 17 points, including clutch buckets in a fourth quarter comeback.
The Madera South Stallions girls basketball team struggled late against County/Metro Athletic Conference opponent Bullard-Fresno, but were able to hold off their opponents with a late charge foul to secure a 58-57 win.
The Stallions battled the Knights back and forth down the stretch leading to a tie game with 54 seconds left. The momentum swung when a Knights player drove to the basket and collided with two Stallions defenders. The referee under the basket called an offensive foul on the Knights, which gave the ball back and, essentially, the game to the Stallions.
The win over the Knights was the first-ever for program and just the second CMAC win over the past two years.
“We just wanna play hard all the way through and we just made baskets,” Madera South head coach Johnny Sharp said. “We played hard, but we just made baskets.”
The Stallions raced out to an early 15-4 lead behind clutch shooting. The Knights were unable to match the Stallions’ tempo early.
Freshman Lexi Eller and sophomore Le’Anjanae Kinley added 15 points each while sophomore Aleecia Rosel led the Stallions with 17 points.
Eller flashed her potential with a euro-step layup around the Knights defender for an easy two points in the second quarter. Kinley continued her aggressive play in the paint with three foul calls late in the second quarter. Kinley converted on both trips to the free-throw line.
Leading scorer Rosel pushed the lead to 12 in the second quarter when she converted back-to-back layups. The sophomore attacked the paint on both occasions which earned her a free throw on her second attempt.
At halftime, the girls held a commanding
The Knights fought back in the second half. The Knights outscored the Stallions 17-8 to cut the deficit. The Knights’ full-court press implemented caused consecutive turnovers for the Stallions on multiple trips down the court.
The Stallions were unable to break the Knights’ press throughout the second half. The Knights led by 10 going into the fourth quarter. The lead grew to 15 early in the quarter but was squandered by multiple turnovers.
Sharp said his team was sped up by the pressure applied by the Knights.
“The same stuff we work on every day in practice,” Sharp said. “Catch turn and face, you know, see the ball and see the man. They sped us up today, and we just started running with it instead of doing what we’re taught every day in practice.”
The Stallions and Knights continued to trade baskets as Rosel and Kinley were able to keep pace with the Knights.
Lanaye Brewer provided defensive pressure towards the end of the game along with an offensive spark. Brewer scored on a driving layup with 15 seconds left to give the Stallions the lead in crunch time.
The ensuing possession two Stallion defenders stepped up and took a charge for an offensive foul. Eller converted two free throws to win the game for the Stallions.