Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera seniors K’Veon Jones, left, and Ali Escheik celebrate Tuesday’s upset victory over the Madera South Stallions. It was Madera’s first league win and first win over Madera South in three years.
Despite carrying an 0-29 record in County/Metro Athletic Conference games heading into its season finale with Madera South, the Madera Coyotes boys basketball team outscored the Madera South Stallions 21-13 in the fourth quarter to record a 59-57 victory in Joe Flores Gym.
The Coyotes stopped a three-year losing streak, not only in the CMAC, but also to Madera South with the victory.
“It was a testament to our players trusting me in this game,” first-year Madera coach David Lozano said. “We had some reasons why some kids didn’t play in the game. The kids bought into the things I’m trying to teach other than basketball. They are not oblivious we’ve been 0-29 in the CMAC. That’s what sports is all about. This was their championship because we’re not going to playoffs. They knew it was their last game of the season. I’m so proud of them.”
While the Coyotes end the season, the Stallions, who were looking for a No. 2 seed and return to the Div. IV Valley Championship game, may have to settle for a No. 5 seed when the Central Section announce the playoff seedings today.
“When you let teams stay close to you, they can take advantage,” Madera South head coach Jody Sharp said. “They played well and played hard. They took advantage of the opportunities and we didn’t play well offensively. We were pretty bad.”
K’Veon Jones led three Coyotes in double figures with 17 points, including eight in the fourth quarter. Alex Trukki hit four 3-pointers and scored 15 points and Christian Aguilar hit three 3-pointers and scored 10 points.
“They did a good job and did what they had to do,” Sharp said. “They made shots, made free throws and we didn’t do those things. We settled too much.”
Joel Galvan and Junior Segura led four Stallions in double figures with 14 points. Galvan added seven rebounds. Hakeem Primes scored 12 points and David Thomas added 11.
However, the biggest key was the second half shooting and three-point shooting. While the Coyotes shot 46 percent from the field in the second half, the Stallions made just five field goals and shot 21 percent. In addition, Madera made eight 3-pointers and shot 35 percent while Madera south made five and shot 24 percent from the field.
The Stallions seemed to have the table set for them in the fourth quarter. They forced the Coyotes into a double bonus for most of the quarter. However, the Stallions made it to the free throw line twice in double bonus. Also, Madera South forced 29 turnovers, but couldn’t make it hurt the Coyotes.
“We got in the key area, but our guys weren’t under control instead of going in there strong and making the extra pass out,” Sharp said. “It was just a combination of a lot of things. They did a lot of things well and we weren’t very good at all.”
The Coyotes opened the game with an early 5-2 lead behind a Jones bucket and a Trukki 3-pointer.
The Stallions closed the quarter with seven straight points, starting with a Segura 3-pointer. Primes hit a long jumper and David Thomas made two free throws. Galvan added another free throw and Victor Daza made two for a 12-5 lead heading into the second quarter.
Thomas opened the lead to nine with a layup to open the second. Madera came back with an 8-0 run to cut the lead down to one.
Aguilar and Trukki hit 3-pointers and Ali Escheik put back a miss.
Segura answered with a 3-pointer and a layup while Primes added an offensive putback to get the lead to 21-13.
Madera kept coming back with a Jesus Arzola layup. Nate Adams hit a 3-pointer for the Stallions. Jones added a free throw, but Thomas made two. After an Arzola layup, Segura made one of his own to get the lead to 10.
Trukki made back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the lead to 28-24. After a free throw from Madera South’s Andre Johnson, Jones hit a fadeaway jumper to cut the lead to seven.
Galvan hit a five-foot jumper and Trukki made a free throw for a 31-27 Madera South lead at the half.
Segura opened the second half with a layup after a Primes steal for a six-point lead.
The Coyotes came back with a 9-0 run to take the lead. Arzola hit a 3-pointer, Eli Barrios turned a steal into a layup and, after an Aguilar steal, Trukki made a layup to take a 34-22 lead. Barrios added to the lead with a pull-up 15-footer for a 36-33 score.
Galvan stopped the run with an offensive putback and made a free throw to tie the game.
Primes made two free throws to take the lead, but Jones hit a short jumper to tie the score.
Galvan then put back another miss, made two free throws and hit a seven-foot jumper for a 44-38 lead.
Primes put back a miss to open a 46-38 lead in the fourth quarter. The Coyotes came back with seven straight points — a Jones offensive putback, an Aguilar 3-pointer and a Jones jumper — to cut the lead to one.
Thomas hit a 3-pointer, but Jones added two more free throws. After an exchange of three possessions, Aguilar gave the Coyotes a 50-49 lead with his third 3-pointer of the game.
Trukki made a layup and Jones scored driving to the lane to open a 59-54 lead with 2:23 left in the game.
Primes made a free throw and Segura made two more to cut the lead to two. After Jones made a reverse layup, Primes hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to one with 48.5 seconds left.
The Stallions got the possession right back, but a missed shot gave the Coyotes the possession back.
Barrios made two free throws with 30.2 seconds left in the game, but Galvan made a layup to cut the lead down to one with 9.4 seconds left in the game.
Segura got a steal on the inbounds, but missed a floating layup and Aguilar came down with the rebound.
He made one free throw after getting fouled with 1.5 seconds left. He missed the second, but the Stallions couldn’t get a shot off for a 59-57 Coyotes victory.