The opening round of playoffs started off with a bang for the Madera Stallions girls basketball team dominating the Washington Union-Easton Panthers from start to finish in a 50-35 victory.
“We played a lot smarter tonight,” head coach Johnny Sharp said. “We played within ourselves but we had some hiccups. Overall we played within ourselves tonight.”
Led by the trio of Lexi Eller with 16 points, Aleecia Rosel with 11, and Le’Ajanae Kinley with 11, the fifth-seeded Stallions dominated the first half 33-17 and looked unstoppable against the 12th seeded Panthers until they reverted back to selfish basketball, according to Sharp.
Luckily the Stallions snapped out of their funk to push the lead out of reach late in the fourth to win the program’s first-ever playoff game.
“That’s what happens when they try to do it on their own,” Sharp said. “Anytime they revert back to their old ways, you have to remember this was a losing program. But once they stuck to the system, they were able to turn it around.”
The Stallions stated the game off on a 5-0 run after Eller hit a deep 3-pointer, followed up by a tough layup in the paint.
Kinley found the basket after she connected on a mid-range jump shot followed by a long distance triple.
With a minute left in the quarter, Rosel knocked down the 10-foot jumper to push the lead to 10. The Stallions went on a 12-0 run to close out the quarter.
The second quarter started off with more offense after Moosey Warren hit the 3-pointer, which was followed up with a Rosel drive to the basket.
With six minutes left in the quarter, the Stallions were in the midst of an 8-0 run.
Kinley sank an and-one layup to push the lead to 16 just before the half ended.
The Stallions came out of halftime on fire after Eller connected from long range. Kinley added to the lead with two points easy free throws. Halfway through the third, the lead ballooned to 20 points.
The Panthers fought back in the third quarter, outscoring the home team 10-9.
The fourth quarter saw the Panthers claw their way back from 17 points down to 11. The visitors capitalized on the Stallions’ miscues to go on a 6-0 run.
Rosel closed the game out after back-to-back buckets to push the lead out of reach.
However, the Stallions fell in the quarterfinals Thursday to Immanuel-Reedley. They were outscored 27-21 in the second half of the loss.
Kinley led the team with 18 points.