Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Lexi Eller pulles up for a runner in the lane during Tuesday’s loss to Selma. Eller scored 10 points to go with 11 rebounds.
The Madera South Stallions girls basketball team gave themselves a chance to win, but three turnovers in the final 30 seconds led to a 50-45 non-conference loss to the Selma Bears.
The Stallions trailed by one with 49 seconds left in the game. After a missed 3-pointer, Selma missed a shot and Arelis Chavez came down with the rebound. The Stallions turned the ball over and then forced Selma into a free throw. After a miss, Lexi Eller came down with a rebound. However, the Stallions turned the ball over, again.
This time, Selma made two free throws for a 48-45 lead with 7.9 seconds left. Another turnover gave the ball back to Selma and two free throws with 1.7 seconds left iced the game Tuesday evening.
“They’ve never been in that situation,” head coach Johnny Sharp said. “We talk about that all the time — catch, turn and face. I was trying to get a time out called so we can get the play set, but we just caught and turned. It caught us every time.”
The Stallions had plenty of chances to open up the game. They pulled down 18 offensive rebounds, but had just one offensive putback. They recorded nine steals and seven 30 turnovers, but scored just 13 points off those turnovers. Meanwhile, Selma forced 26 turnovers and scored 24 points. Madera South also missed more than their share of open layups.
“We go over missed layups a lot in practice.,” Sharp said. “They take it a little light. Tonight, they got to see how it hurt them. Yesterday, in practice, all we worked on was boxing out and rebounding.”
Eller took over for Emily Montoya, who was in foul trouble, at the point and kickstarted the Madera South offense. She had 10 points to go with seven rebounds. She helped open the court for Aleecia Rosel, who led the team with 12 points and hit a pair of 3-pointers. She also had eight rebounds. Arelis Chavez also scored 10 points with 11 rebounds.
“I can remember telling the coaches we might have to let Lexi go,” Sharp said. “We want her to slow it down and see it, but that’s her style. If we can just control her a little more. She has that style to get to the basket and play free. When we contain her, the thought process is not where it needs to be.”
Despite the loss, Sharp thought his team played the best of the season. He had three players in double figures and seven players scored. His team also pulled down 40 rebounds,
“Tonight, the team showed up,” Sharp said. “There were no attitudes and personalities. They just all showed up to play tonight and stuck to the system.”
Montoya opened the scoring with a 10-foot jumper.
Rachel Vieira hit the first of her game-high four 3-pointers to give Selma the lead and start a 12-0 run. Selma’s Taj Pannu scored the final six points of the run.
Jackie Cortez, off a pass from Eller, made a layup to end Madera South’s five minute scoreless drought.
Chavez converted a 3-point play and Eller hit a pull-up, 16-foot jumper for a 7-0 run and cut the lead to 12-9.
Selma scored the final points of the first quarter and Vieira, who scored a game-high 17 points, hit a 3-pointer for a 17-9 second quarter lead.
The two teams went on a two minute scoreless drought before Rosel hit a 3-pointer. Two possessions later, Rosel drove the lane to cut Selma’s lead to three.
Chavez put back a missed shot and Lei’Nya Bartlow found Chavez for a layup to give Madera South its only lead of the game, 18-17.
Vieira hit a 3-pointer and Pannu scored down low for a 22-18 lead. Eller drained a 3-pointer just before the end of the half to trail by one.
Selma put back a miss and then made five free throws in a 12-second span to open a 28-21 lead.
Eller made a pair of layups and Rosel hit a 3-pointer to cut Selma’s lead to 30-28 with about four minutes left in the quarter.
After a Selma bucket, Eller found Rosel for a layup, but the Bears closed the third quarter with a bucket and led 34-30.
Eller opened the fourth quarter with a driving layup. After Vieira hit a 3-pointer, Rosel hit a short jumper. Kim Prudente, off an assist from Rosel, made a layup after a Selma bucket to stay within three.
Five straight Selma points opened the lead to eight with 3:41 left in the game.
Chavez converted a 3-point play to trail
44-39. Montoya hit three-of-four free throws to cut the lead to four with 1:54 left.
The Stallions defense forced a pair of turnovers. The Stallions crashed the glass on their next possession, getting offensive rebounds from Rosel and Montoya, to set up a Kierra Smith 3-pointer with 49 seconds left to cut the lead to 46-45.
Smith missed an open look after a Montoya steal on Madera South’s next possession and it was the last shot Madera South took.
The Stallions, with a chance to win the game, turned the ball over on their final three possessions in a 50-45 loss.
The Stallions finish play in the Kerman Tournament today before playing in the Madera Tournament on Wednesday.