Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Lexi Eller drives to the lane to put up a shot during a victoy over Sanger. Eller scored a career-high 35 points in the win.
The Madera South Stallions girls basketball team turned it on late with the help of Lexi Eller’s 35 points to upend the Sanger Apaches, 62-47, in a County/Metro Athletic Conference victory at home.
“It was a great performance,” Madera South head coach Johnny Sharp said. “She listened tonight and that really kept her out of foul trouble. She’s one of our best offensive players, so when she goes, we go.”
After battling back and forth throughout three quarters, the Stallions turned up the heat on the Apaches, outscoring them 18-8 in the fourth quarter. A big reason was the play of Eller. She scored 15 of the Stallions 18 points including two and-one layups to set the school’s scoring record . She scored 30 or more points for the second time in her career.
The Apaches and Stallions battled back and forth throughout the first half. After getting outscored 13-10 in the first quarter, the Stallions came back and turned the tide with a 17-12 second quarter to lead 27-25 heading into halftime.
Madera South’s Aleecia Rosel opened second half with easy runner in the paint. She attacked the Apache interior defense for the tough score. She finished the night with 10 points.
Her basket opened a quick run for the Stallions, but their luck wouldn’t last too much longer.
The Apaches fought their way back towards the end of the third quarter. A combination of turnovers and poor interior defense allowed the Apaches to regain a lead.
After a substitution by Sharp, Madera South regained control. Eller came off the bench and wasted no time. She dribbled into the lane before getting fouled. She made both free throws, which were followed by a driving layup for two points.
Eller poured in eight of her 35 points in the third quarter to keep her team afloat.
The Apaches knocked down a big three to tie the game at 39, but the Stallions responded.
With less than a minute left, Eller and company went to work. After forcing a Sanger turnover, the Stallions were off to the races. Eller picked up her dribble and attacked the paint for two.
She pushed the Stallion run to five with a deep triple to give her team some breathing room just before the third quarter ended.
The fourth quarter started and Eller picked up where she left off. She sank a big three to open the fourth to give the Stallions an eight-point lead to put the Apaches away for good.
The run ballooned to 11 unanswered points after a silky euro-step move by Eller. Lei’Nya Bartlow and Jackie Cortez harassed the Apaches on defense, which led to Eller’s transition bucket.
The game seemed all but wrapped up after Eller received the ball from Rosel before she put her head down and attacked the heart of the Apache defense. She absorbed the contact and finished to put the Stallions up 10.
Rosel made it a 12-point lead after she knocked down a big three of her own and the Stallions rode a 7-0 run to finish the game.