Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South senior Hassan Bolden drives to the hoop against San Joaquin Memorial on Senior Night. He scored seven in the loss.
The first time the Madera South Stallions faced the San Joaquin-Memorial Panthers, the game wasn’t in doubt from the opening team.
Two weeks later, the Stallions made some adjustment and stayed with the County/Metro Athletic Conference leaders in a 55-42 loss Friday.
“I’m proud of our kids, defensively, because they gave us a chance,” head coach Jody Sharp said. “That’s a huge improvement from the first time we played them.”
The Stallions trailed by 13 at the half, but cut the lead down to eight before the Panthers took advantage of 12 missed shots in the fourth quarter.
“The whole thing for us was to put them in situation where their possessions were longer,” Sharp said. “We did that. What do you choose to have or not have. I chose to let them shoot 3-pointers and we’ll see what happens. They made a lot in the first half, but they didn’t make a lot in the second half. From that standpoint, it helped us. We missed some easy stuff around the rim that would have helped. That could have changed the complexion of the game down the stretch.”
The Panthers torched the Stallions with six 3-pointers in the first half. However, they made just two in the second half. However, what hurt the Stallions was their lack of 3-point shooting. They were just 2-of-21 from behind the arc.
“We have to take advantage of a team that is so much longer and athletic,” Sharp said. “You have to take advantage of all of those opportunities. They are long and they can get rebounds.”
Junior Segura led the Stallions with 18 points and hit Madera South’s only 3-pointers. He was the only player in double-figures. Hakeem Primes scored eight points and Hassan Bolden added seven.
The Stallions kept pace with the Panthers for most of the first quarter. David Thomas made two free throws and Bolden added a layup to cut into the Panthers’ lead 5-4. The Panthers hit a 3-pointer, but Segura answered with his first.
After a Panthers layup, Segura got a steal and put in a layup for a 10-9 Panthers lead. The Panthers added two more buckets, including an ally-oop.
Bolden put back his own miss and added a free throw. However, Memorial hit two 3-pointers at the end of the quarter for a 20-12 lead.
After Tank Dickson opened the quarter with a free throw, the Panthers added a 3-pointer and a layup to take a 25-13 lead.
Ralph White countered with two layups to get within eight. However, the Panthers took advantage of three missed Stallions layups to scored seven straight points for a 32-17 lead.
Bolden hit a short jumper at the end of the quarter for a 32-19 halftime lead.
Segura opened the second half scoring with a layup. The Stallions came back after a Memorial layup with a Segura offensive putback and a Primes layup.
Memorial recorded a 3-point play to get the lead to 12.
Primes hit a bucket, David Thomas got a steal and a layup followed by a Segura runner for a 6-0 run to cut the Panthers’ lead to six.
The Panthers added three free throws and Segura answered with a short jumper to cut the lead to seven.
Memorial closed the quarter with a 3-point play for a 43-33 lead.
The Panthers opened the fourth quarter with five straight points to take a 15-point lead.
Bolden found primes for a layup. However, Madera South missed its next five straight shots to miss cutting into the Panthers’ lead while the Stallions pulled down three straight rebounds and forced three turnovers.
Segura scored on a layup and hit a 3-pointer in between another Memorial bucket for a 50-40 lead in the fourth quarter. A Primes bucket cut the lead to eight with a minute left. However, the Panthers scored five straight points while the Stallions went 1-of-9 from behind the 3-point line in the quarter for a 55-42 loss.