Courtesy of Christopher Cross
Madera South’s Junior Segura drives to the lane for two of his team-high 24 points in a double overtime victory over Immanuel on Wednesday.
After getting bounced out of the Valley Championship game against the Immanuel-Reedley Eagles in March, the Madera South Stallions boys basketball team was looking for a measure of revenge in its season opener.
The Stallions, who lost 58-51 to the Eagles in the Div. IV championship game, found themselves trailing Immanuel by 17 at the half Wednesday and things weren’t looking rosey.
“I told them at halftime we weren’t playing with any energy or how we’re supposed to play,” head coach Jody Sharp said. “The third quarter was a completely different game. We were just nonchalant going through the motions. I told the seniors to step up and make plays.”
Sharpshooter Junior Segura scored 22 of his 24 points in the second half. He also hit four 3-pointers. Hakeem Primes added 22 points in a 73-69 double overtime victory over the Eagles.
“You just have to trust them knowing they are going to make a play,” Sharp said of his senior leadership of Primes, Segura and David Thomas.
The Stallions shot just 29 percent (24-of-82) from the field and were 7-of-31 (23 percent) from 3-point range.
However, the Stallions got the Eagles into foul trouble and made 34 free throws, but made just 17. Madera also drew eight offensive fouls by Immanuel.
“We had to keep attacking and hope to get to the free throw line,” Sharp said. “Down the stretch, it worked out, but early on, I was worried.”
Sharp also pointed out the hustle plays of Amire Green, who scored six points with four rebounds and two steals.
“Amire did a heck of a job,” Sharp said. “He battled inside. We were taking a lot of blows in the first half and couldn’t land any counter punches. We weren’t making shots. We got to the free throw line, but didn’t do a good job at the line.”
Immanuel’s Nate Kendricks led all scorers with 31 points. However, the Immanuel scorer only made one 3-pointer, but was 18-of-20 from the free throw line.
After Green scored off an assist from David Thomas to cut the lead to one, Immanuel big man Gavin Lloyd scored four of his 16 points to help the Eagles take an early 9-2 lead.
Primes stopped the run with a reverse layup, but the Eagles scored 11 straight points for a 20-4 lead.
The Stallions closed the first quarter with two free throws from Primes and another from Kingsley Thomas for a 20-7 Immanuel lead.
Two buckets from Kendricks and another from Lloyd opened a 29-11 lead for the Eagles.
The Stallions fought back with a 3-pointer and two free throws from Thomas. Jaylan Thomas got a steal and layup for a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 11.
The Eagles opened the lead to 18 after another six-point run and went into the half leading 38-20.
Madera South opened the second half with a pair of Primes steal and layups to lead the comeback attempt. Segura hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 11.
After a David Thomas free throw, Segura made a layup and fed Primes for another layup to cut the lead to four. Kingsley Thomas made a free throw to cut the lead to three. Segura made two free throws to get within one.
Immanuel scored its first points of the second half six minutes into the third quarter to get the lead back to three. Thomas added a free throw and Andre Johnson hit a 15-foot jumper to tie the score with less than a minute left in the quarter.
Segura turned an Immanuel turnover into a 3-pointer for a 43-40 lead before Kendricks added two more free throws to end the quarter with a Madera South one-point lead.
The Stallions outscored Immanuel 23-4 in the quarter, made 8-of-14 shots and forced eight turnovers while not committing any.
The Eagles got two free throws from Kendricks and a bucket from Lloyd for a 46-43 lead to open the fourth quarter.
Segura quickly tied the score with a 3-pointer. Immanuel, once again, got two free throws from Kendricks and a 3-point play from Lloyd to take a 51-46 lead.
Segura got the Stallions back in the game with a 3-pointer and Green made two free throws to tie the game at 51.
After a trade in free throws, Immanuel put back a miss to take the lead, but Green tied the score with a layup. After two Lloyd free throws, Primes answered with a layup.
David Thomas picked up a steal and sent a behind-the-back pass to Segura for a layup and a 58-56 lead with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Lloyd helped out the Stallions by missing two free throws. However, Kendricks made two free throws to tie the game with 54.2 seconds left in the fourth.
After two missed free throws, Immanuel missed on their chance. Kingsley Thomas came down with the rebound and Primes just missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.
Lloyd put back a missed shot to give Immanuel the lead in overtime. Primes came back with a layup to tie the score. Segura hit a 15-foot floater after an Immanuel traveling violation for a 62-60 lead.
Kendricks then made six straight free throws, the final coming with 24.6 seconds left for a 66-62 lead.
Primes hit a clutch 3-pointer to cut the lead to one with 14.8 seconds left in the first overtime.
Madera South kept up the pressure and forced Immanuel to touch the ball out of bounds. Primes drove to the hoop and was fouled by Lloyd, who picked up his fifth and was out of the game.
Primes made the first free throw to tie the game at 66 with 4.8 seconds left, but missed the second to force a second overtime.
Kendricks scored the first points of the second overtime, but Primes tied it with a layup on Madera South’s next possession.
Kendricks made a free throw, but Johnson hit a 3-pointer to give the Stallions a 71-69 lead with about a minute left in the game.
Johnson was just 1-of-13 in the game and 0-for-8 on 3-pointers when he hit his most important shot of his Stallions career.
“Andre has been shooting lights out in practice,” Sharp said. I told him that’s nothing and that’s not how he plays.”
Johnson added a free throw with 17.9 seconds left in the overtime while Immanuel missed its last three shots of the game.
Madera South will next play in the Kingsburg Tournament from Wednesday through Saturday.