Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Kierra Smith shoots a 3-pointer during Moday’s win over McLane. Smith drained five 3-pointer for 15 points.
The Madera South girl’s basketball team capitalized on an offensive surge in the first half to down the McLane-Fresno Highlanders in a non-conference matchup 68-33.
“They played together as a team,” Madera South head coach Johnny Sharp said. “McLane is a team that is fresh and young like we were and, so we said, let’s just work on our fundamentals. Let’s see if our offense can work. We don’t need to come down and just fire up the rock. Let’s see if our offense can work and pass around and get our big girls some action.”
Kierra Smith and Aleecia Rosel’s hot shooting put the Highlanders into a hole early. The pair combined for 23 points Monday night at Madera South.
Smith knocked down a pair of deep three’s in the opening quarter and hit a total of five in the game.
Rosel, on the other hand, scored five of her eight total points in the game’s first quarter. Her ability to spot up and put pressure on the visitor’s defense was key.
Although Rosel and Smith took the plaudits for a strong start, sophomore Lexi Eller carried the team throughout. She finished the game with a team-high 17 points along with a couple threes.
Even though her scoring numbers are up to par, it’s setting up her teammates that’s has the Stallions rolling right now.
“Lexi is a good ball player,” Sharp said. “The biggest thing we tell her to do is get your other players involved first because if you don’t get them involved first, they are just going to key on you and I thought she did a good job of that. Getting others involved early and that allowed her to get a lot of wide-open shots.”
The Stallions opened the game on an 8-0 run. Not only were they knocking down their shots at a high rate, they were also keeping their opponents off the scoreboard.
The visitors countered with an 8-2 run. After the Stallions made a lineup change, the Highlander’s capitalized on the lack of height and scored back-to-back buckets to force Sharp into a timeout.
Taylor Rogers opened the second quarter for the Stallions with a strong move in the paint for the score. The bucket broke the scoring drought and reestablished Madera South’s lead to five.
The Stallions continued to pour it on with a deep three from Jonese Feliu. Eller grabbed the defensive rebound and galloped down the court where she found Feliu wide open on the wing.
The Stallions increased their lead to 10 with five minutes remaining in the quarter.
Arelis Chavez pushed the Stallions’ lead further after she caught the entry pass down low before she turned to the basket for the easy layup.
Eller then made it 10 in a row for the Stallions with another strong drive to the basket. The sophomore gathered her dribble and attacked the basket with intent.
Madera South had the ball moving from side-to-side throughout the first half. Rosel cashed in on her teammates’ unselfish play with a big three-point shot that increased their lead to 20.
The Stallions rode their wave of momentum into a 23-point halftime lead and 20-point differential in the second quarter.
Eller continued the Stallions momentum with five quick points out of the break. She hit an open three-pointer before driving into the lane for layup.
Madera South continued to pour it on in the third quarter after they outscored McLane 15-8.
The fourth quarter featured much of the same — Stallions offense. Eller made it 60 points for her team with another long-distance shot. Madera South now enjoyed a 34-point lead and never looked back.
Although the Highlander’s had their best offensive output in the fourth quarter, it was too little too late for the visitors.
By the time they cracked 20 points on the scoreboard, the Stallions bench was cleared and starters rested.