Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera South Hakeem Primes goes up for a shot during Saturday’s loss in the Jesse Lujan Memorial Tournament championship game. Primes was an All-Tourney selection and led the Stallions with 12 points.
SELMA — The Madera South Stallions’ run at the sixth annual Jesse Lujan Memorial Tournament in Selma came to an end underneath the Fresno Warriors’ basket.
The Stallions couldn’t stop Fresno big man Keanu Holliman and the rest of the Warrior’s rebounding game in a 76-64 loss Saturday in the championship game.
“No. 52 (Holliman) killed us inside, especially in the first half,” head coach Jody Sharp said. “We talked at the beginning of the game that we have to block off and put a body on him all the time and we didn’t. He had his way with us and, at crucial times in the second half, he got some stuff because we weren’t physical and didn’t block him off.”
Ishmael Cruz, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and scored 31 against the Madera Coyotes Dec. 22 at the Madera South Classic, was lmited to just six points and zero 3-pointers after hitting six against Madera.
“I’m proud of what our kids did against No. 11 (Cruz),” Sharp said. “He had been burning everyone else. We did well against him. We also didn’t stay in front of the ball. That’s the worst we have done all year of guarding the ball. We were giving them lanes and that’s how we don’t want to play.”
Madera South, who made just four of its first 17 shots, found itself in a 17-point second quarter hole and trailed by nine in the third quarter before rallying to tie the score with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. However, Fresno closed the game on a 20-8 run for the win.
“We have to just keep coming,” Sharp said. “That’s something this group has. They don’t back down. If we did a better job on the ball and blocking out, who knows what the result would have been. They are a very good basketball team. We competed against some good teams. I’m proud of them.
All-tournament selections Hakeem Primes and Andre Johnson each scored 12 points for the Stallions. Joel Galvan added 10 while Ralph White and David Thomas scored nine points each.
The Stallions’ poor shooting led to a 16-10 first quarter deficit. Madera South got two free throws each from Primes and White, a 15-foot jumper by White for Madera South’s first field goal five minutes into the game. Primes and Thomas made layups late in the first quarter to cut the lead to six.
Fresno scored the first seven points of the second quarter to get the lead to 13 points.
After Junior Segura scored on a layup, Fresno scored on three straight layups to increase its lead to 29-12.
Madera South answered back with a 6-0 run of its own. Primes found Galvan for a layup. Primes and Segura made a pair of free throws to get within 11. After two Fresno free thorws, Madera South went on another 6-0 run.
Galvan scored twice down low and Primes put back a miss to cut Fresno’s lead to 31-24. The Warriors hit a jumper near the end of the second quarter for a 33-24 halftime lead.
The Warriors opened the second half with a pair of 3-poitners and a long jumper for an 8-2 run to open the lead back to 15.
Back-to-back layups by Amire Green and Primes cut the lead to 11. After a minute-long scoring drought, David Thoams drained a 3-pointer and then stole a ball and scored on a layup. Two Primes free throws gave the Stallions a 9-0 run to cut the Warriors lead to four.
After two Fresno buckets, White put back a miss to keep the Warriors within six. Fresno made a free throw and White made two more.
The Warriors scored on back-to-back offensive put backs to get the lead to nine. Johnson hit a 3-pointer. After a Fresno bucket, Johnson made two free throws and Segura went coast-to-coast for a layup and get Madera South within four.
The Warriors closed out the quarter with a jumper. Fresno added another layup to open the fourth quarter with an eight-point lead.
Madera South began to claw back. Johnson drove in for a layup. After a Primes offensive rebound, Segura scored on a layup and Johnson drove in for another to cut the lead to two. After a Warriors’ traveling violation, Elijah Ford scored down los to tie the score at 56 with 5:05 left in the game.
Holliman scored twice to get the lead to four, but Johnson hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to one.
However, Fresno scored the next eight points to get the lead to seven.
Galvan scored down low to cut the lead to 68-61, but Fresno made a free thow. White made a free throw to cut the lead to eight with 1:17 left in the game. After a traveling violation, Madera South missed two 3-pointers on its next possession.
Fresno closed the game with six straight free throws despite a Galvan putback for the 76-64 victory.