Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Alyssa Fernandez rises up to shot for two of her team-high 14 points in a loss to Bullard.
The Madera Coyotes girls basketball team had trouble holding onto the ball in the first half and tried to work from behind in a 48-36 loss to the Bullard-Fresno Knights in Joe Flores Gym.
The Coyotes turned the ball over 30 times in the game, including 20 in the first half. However, they forced 19 second half turnovers from the Knights, but couldn’t shoot well enough to come back from a 21-point deficit Wednesday night.
Madera shot 19 percent from the field (8-of-43), but shot well enough from the free throw line (17-of-31, 54 percent) to get back into the game in the fourth quarter.
“Look at the score in the second half,” head coach Jason Smith said. We cut our turnovers in the second half in half. That was the key. We talk about playing a four quarter game and about outhustling the competition for four quarters. They baited us in the first half into a lot of turnovers. We’re a young group of basketball players and we grew up some in the second half.
“I went up there at halftime and my seniors are telling them we are in this and cutting turnovers was the first thing they said. In the second half, we made the adjustment.”
Senior Alyssa Frnandez led the Coyotes with 14 points and went 6-of-10 from the free throw line. Seven other Coyotes scored, led by BriAnn Houghton’s seven points.
However, the Coyotes couldn’t keep Bullard’s Shay Gibbons from getting to the key area. She led the Knights with 22 points or 45 percent of her team’s total. Bullard helped the Coyotes stay in the game by going 7-of-17 (41 percent) from the free throw line.
Bullard got off to the early first quarter lead, but a Lexi Carmona 3-pointer cut Bullard’s lead to 9-8.
The Coyotes closed the first quarter committing six straight turnovers and nine in 10 possessions while the Knights went on a 10-0 run into the second quarter.
Grace Castellanos stopped the run with a layup off a pass from janessa Fernandes. After a Bullard free throw, Carmona made two to cut the lead to eight.
Bullard scored seven of the first half’s final 11 points for a 31-14 halftime lead, culminating in a Gibbons 3-point play.
The Knights came out of the second half scoring seven of the next nine points to open a
38-17 lead with about four minutes left in the third quarter.
Fernandez stopped the run with a layup. However, neither team scored for the next four minutes when Carmona found Houghton for a layup late in the third quarter.
In between, Madera committed four turnovers while Bullard had four of its own.
Camile DeAnda made a free throw and Fernandez made two more while the Coyotes cut the lead to 38-24 with six minutes left in the game.
The Coyotes extended the run to 11-1 and cut the lead to 11 after a pair of free throws from Fernandes and Houghton.
After a Bullard bucket, Houghton converted a 3-point play to get the Knights’ lead to 10.
Bullard quickly scored a pair fo buckets, but the Coyotes came back with a Fernandez layup and putback to get the lead back to 10.
The Knights put the game away with a 3-pointer with about 1:30 left in the fourth to pick up the victory.