Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
The Madera South Stallions boys basketball team stand with the runner-up plaque after losing to the Immanuel Eagles in the Div. IV Valley Championship game in Selland Arena.
FRESNO — The Madera South Stallions had trouble sinking shots, but also turned the ball over at inopportune times in a 58-51 loss to Immanuel-Reedley in the Central Section Div. IV boys basketball championship game at Selland Arena.
The Stallions shot 28 percent from the field, but took 66 shots in the game and were 6-of-17 from 3-point land.
However, the biggest discrepancy between the second-seeded Stallions and the top-seeded Eagles were the amount of fouls. The Stallions, despite driving to the hoop for most of the game, only went to the foul line nine times. Meanwhile, the Eagles made 22 trips to the foul line and sank 16 shots.
“We just couldn’t get the ball to drop and couldn’t get any calls,” head coach Jody Sharp said. “Let’s be honest, we didn’t get any calls. My guys are going to the basket, getting hit and there were no fouls being called. That had an effect. They go down on their end and when we commit a foul, they are calling it and they hit their free throw. We got good shots and got good opportunities. We didn’t get any calls.”
Immanuel’s Nate Kendricks and Derrin Person, Jr. combined to score 49 of the team’s 58 points. Combined, the duo also went 14-of-17 from the free throw line. Just two other players scored for Immanuel.
“In a game like this, I shouldn’t be in a situation like this when we’re asking for calls,” Sharp said. “All I can do is tell them to get tougher. We just couldn’t get over the hump. You get to this situation, everything you hope fall into place and it just didn’t go our way. All those little things going into the game went their way.”
Meanwhile, the Stallions had three players in double-figures and eight players score. Junior Segura led the team with 13 points and also pulled down five rebounds. Hakeem Primes scored 12 points, Hassan Bolden scored 10 points with a team-leading 13 rebounds. Jonah Johnson also had seven points with 12 rebounds.
Despite the experience difference, the Stallions stayed with the Eagles for most of the game. The Stallions were playing in their first Valley Championship game, while the Eagles were playing in their fourth straight championship, winning all four.
Bolden started the scoring with a driving bucket. Immanuel responded with seven straight points before Primes put back a miss.
The Eagles scored four more points to open a seven-point lead.
The Stallions came back with a Bolden 3-point play and an Andre Johnson 3-pointer to cut the lead to one. Person sank three free throws before Bolden closed the first quarter with a short bucket for a 14-12 Immanuel lead.
Immanuel scored the first four points of the second quarter to get the lead up to six.
The Stallions tied the score with a 3-pointer from Ralph White and a 3-point play from Primes. Jonah Johnson gave the Stallions the lead with a short bucket and two free throws from Tank Dickson gave Madera South a 22-18 lead.
However, the Eagles went on an 8-0 run to get the lead to five near the end of the first half.
Segura drained a 3-pointer to get the Eagles’ lead down to two. Kendricks closed out the first half with a bucket for a 29-25 lead.
Segura hit another 3-pointer to start the second half to cut Immanuel’s lead to one. However, back-to-back buckets from Kendricks got the lead back to five.
Johnson put back a miss to get the lead down to three.
However, Person put back a missed shot and Kendricks hit a 3-pointer to open a 38-30 lead.
Segura hit a jumper and Bolden made a free throw to cut the lead down to five. However, Kendricks made three free throws to help Immanuel open a 10-point lead.
Kingsley Thomas closed the third quarter with a tip-in bucket for a 43-25 Immanuel lead.
Bolden opened the fourth quarter scoring with a pair of free throws. However, Immanuel scored three points before Primes hit a 3-pointer. After two free throws from Person, a Primes layup cut the Immanuel lead to 48-41.
Kendricks came back and hit a 3-pointer to get the lead back to 10.
Segura answered with a 3-pointer and Johnson converted a 3-point play to get the lead down to four with 4:42 left in the game.
However, the Stallions missed their next two shots and turned the ball over on three straight possessions while Immanuel scored four straight points to get the lead to 56-47 with two minutes left.
Segura hit a long jumper and Primes tipped in a missed shot for a 56-51 Immanuel lead with a minute left in the game.
The Stallions threw out of bounds and missed a 3-pointer to end any chances at a comeback. Person put the exclamation point on the victory with a slam dunk for a 58-51 Immanuel win.