Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Hakeem Primes goes up for two of his team-high 18 points in an eight-point loss to Bullard on Friday
The Madera South Stallions boys basketball team found themselves trailing by 22 points in the third quarter, but sought out to finish its game with the Bullard-Fresno Knights on a positive note.
After the Stallions trailed the Knights 46-24 early in the third quarter, the Stallions outscored Bullard 42-28 the rest of the way in a 74-66 loss Friday in the County/Metro Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
“In the second half, we were more aggressive,” head coach Jody Sharp said. “They took our will away from us in the second quarter. We started playing with our head down and not with the same energy. At halftime, we told them to go. We’re getting great shots. We missed layups and point blank shots. They just weren’t falling. We were taking the same kind of shots in the second half.”
The Stallions closed the game outscoring the Knights 30-16, including shooting 50 percent from the field, and went 4-of-8 from 3-point range. Madera South hit nine 3-pointers in the game.
“We live on the 3-point shot because of our size and we have guys that can shoot it,” Sharp said. “It’s just a situation in the second half where we played a much better half. I wish we could have played with the same energy in the second quarter.”
Sharp was also proud of the way his team was able to come back from a 23-13 second quarter to make game of it late. He hopes the team carried this over in Tuesday’s game against the Edison-Fresno Tigers.
“You’re hoping our kids can take this moral victory and momentum into the next game,” Sharp said. “Can we play four quarters the next game? Can we play the first half like we played the second half today? We got after loose balls, we were hustling. Those are things you try to get you kids to do and I was real proud of our kids in the second half.”
Hakeem Primes led the Stallions with 18 points. Junior Segura added 15 points and Joel Galvan added nine points and seven rebounds.
Madera South shot 23 percent (7-of-30) in the first half, including just 2-of-11 from 3-point land. However, they shot 45 percent (13-of-29) and 7-of-14 from 3-point land in the second half.
“You have to guard,” Sharp said. “When you are making comebacks, you have to make those stops. You have to take those and be positive. We also have to make free throws.”
The Stallions opened the game competing with the Knights. A Primes 3-pointer gave the Stallions a 7-6 lead with about 5:30 left in the first quarter. However, the Knights went on a 9-0 run to open a 15-7 lead.
Madera South got a Segura layup and a Galvan putback to cut the lead down to four. The Knights went into the second quarter on a 10-0 run and then extended the run 21-3 to open a 36-14 lead.
“They got the lead on us in the first quarter, but we still could have cut into that lead if we would have played with more energy,” Sharp said.
Segura stopped the run with a free throw. Jayshawn Thomas made a reverse layup and Galvan made a free throw for four straight points. After five straight Bullard points, Segura made a two free throws and David Thomas added another, but the Knights still held a 20-point lead.
After a Bullard layup, Segura closed the first half scoring with a 3-pointer to trail the Knights 43-24.
Bullard opened the second half with three straight points to open the lead up to 22. However, Madera South started hitting shots. After a Kingsley Thomas free throw, Primes and Andre Johnson hit 3-pointers, Bullard hit shots as well to keep its lead at 20.
After Bullard hit a 3-pointer, Segura hit a 10-foot jumper and a 3-pointer. Bullard scored four straight points to close the fourth quarter leading 58-36.
Johnson opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer. After a Primes steal, David Thomas hit a 15-foot jumper. After a Bullard 3-pointer, Kingsley Thomas found Primes for an open 3-pointer to cut the lead to 18.
However, Bullard made a layup to get the lead back to 20.
Madera South answered with a Galvan free throw and a Thomas 3-pointer. After another Bullard 3-pointer, Amire Green put back a miss and then drove baseline for another layup to cut the lead to 14.
Bullard answered back with a free throw and a layup to get the lead back to 17.
Primes hit a ling jumper, Segura drove in for a bucket and Segura answered a Bullard 3-pointer with one of his own to open to cut the lead down to 72-59.
Primes made two free throws, but Bullard scored down low.
The Stallions closed the game by scoring the final six points — all from Primes. He made two free throws and converted a 3-point play to cut the final deficit to eight.