Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Ximena Escobar sets up for a jumper while Madera South’s Lanaye Brewer flies by during Friday’s game.
Since Madera and Madera South started playing girls basketball, the rivalry has a definite one-sided slant with the Coyotes taking every meeting, including last week’s 57-44 victory.
The Coyotes used a 17-2 run midway through the second quarter and into the third quarter to cruise to the victory Friday and conclude the first half of the County/Metro Athletic Conference with a 4-1 record before playing at Sanger on Tuesday.
“I thought we controlled ourselves very well,” Madera head coach Jason Smith said. “We played the best basketball game we’ve played in league. We’ve talked about putting pressure on themselves and I’ve been putting pressure on them not to turn the ball over. I told them tonight, ‘Don’t worry about it. Just play basketball. Play Coyote basketball. Play good team basketball, solid, smart, position pressure defense.’ That’s what you saw, for the most part, tonight.”
The Coyotes shot 47 percent (24-of-51) from the field and forced 21 turnovers. They had three players score 10 points each and another score nine. Post players Ximena Escobar, Alyssa Burton and freshman Briann Houghton scored 10 points. Escobar had six rebounds, Burton led the team with 11 and five offensive rebounds with four blocks and Houghton pulled down six rebounds.
Ashley Hansen scored nine points with five steals. Maria Hernandez and Brianna Rubalcaba each scored eight points.
“Most games we’ve lost this year, we beat ourselves as much as they beat us,” Smith said. “We played smart, solid basketball. We made good passes and didn’t force things. Ashley and Maria did a good job passing the ball. Our defense got back to being our defense tonight. Tonight, you saw our whole team on display. We got Alyssa going early in the offense.”
Madera South shot 33 percent (15-of-46) from the field and didn’t hit a 3-pointer with just one player in double figures. Le’Ajanae Kinley led the team with 13 points to go with five rebounds and five steals.
Moosey Warren and Lexi Eller each scored eight points.
“We’re not understanding our offense, yet,” Madera South coach Johnny Sharp said. “When players start to go one-on-one and not run the offense, it makes it very difficult for us. We wanted to front the post and double team the post, but every time the guard penetrated on us, they allowed them to suck up. Our post players kept coming up and there goes the ball game.”
While the Coyotes are looking for a CMAC championships, the Stallions are trying to regroup after going 2-3 in the CMAC and faced Bullard-Fresno on Tuesday.
“I think because the girls are just learning how to play hard all the way through, they are just trying to learn what it takes to persevere for 32 minutes,” Sharp said. “This is the next level for a lot of these girls, but we have to take it higher.”
Kinley opened the game with a 3-point play, but Rubalcaba tied the game on the next possession. Madera South’s Lanaye Brewer made a layup, but it was quickly matched by a Maria Hernandez layup.
Brewer put back a miss, but, once again, Madera tied the game with an Escobar layup.
Hernandez gave the Coyotes the lead they wouldn’t relinquish with a layup. After a Warren free throw, Hansen found Burton down low for a layup. Aleecia Rosel hit a runner for the Stallions, but Houghton closed the first quarter with a layup for a 13-10 first quarter lead.
Rubalcaba hit a short pull-up jumper for a five point lead, but Eller hit a four-foot runner to answer. Burton put back her own miss for the Coyotes, but Rosel did the same for the Stallions. Warren drove for a layup to cut the lead to one.
The Coyotes then closed out the first half on an 11-0 run beginning with two Houghton free throws.
The Coyotes forced the Stallions into four turnovers and six missed shots, including three blocks during the run.
After an Escobar free throw, Hansen found Burton, again, for a layup and a 22-16 lead.
In the final two minutes, Hansen made a layup, Escobar sank a free throw and Hansen hit a 3-pointer for a
Eller opened the second half with a 16-foot jumper to stop the run, but the Coyotes scored six straight points, beginning with a Hernandez offensive put back. Burton scored off an inbounds and Hansen found Houghton for a layup and a 17-2 lead.
Madera South battled back with a bucket from Warren and two Kinley free throws for a 12-point Coyotes’ lead with five minutes left in the third.
However, the Coyotes went on a 9-2 run to open the lead to 19 points. Hansen found Escobar for a layup, Lexi Carmona drove the lane for another layup and Rubalcaba hit a 3-pointer.
After a Kinley layup, Escobar scored down low for a 43-24 lead.
Kinley added a free throw, but Burton hit a short jumper to get the lead to 20 points.
The Stallions closed out the third with layups from Kinley and Warren to trail 45-29.
Rosel made a free throw to open the fourth quarter scoring to cut the lead to 15. Kinley hit a jumper and Treasuri Thomas put back a miss for a 9-0 Stallions run to cut the lead to 11.
Madera missed 11 straight shots before Escobar scored off a Hansen assist with about four minutes left in the game.
Kinley made a free throw, Eller sank two and Warren hit one to trail by eight with two minutes left.
However, the Coyotes got a reverse layup from Hernandez and another layup from Houghton, off Hansen’s sixth assist of the night for a 52-40 lead.
Hansen put the game out of reach with a 3-point play to lead by 15 with 1:08 left. Eller made two free throws, but Houghton answered with a layup.
Kinley closed the scoring with a steal and layup before the final buzzer for a 57-44 Coyote victory.