Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Lexi Eller drives against Madera’s Lexi Carmona (5) during Wednesday’s victory. Eller scored a game-high 26 points in the win.
In a span of 24 hours, Madera basketball was turned upside down.
A day after the Madera Coyote boys basketball team defeated the Madera South Stallions for the first time in three years, the Stallions girls basketball team did something no other team before had done — beat the Coyotes.
With six points in overtime, the Stallions held off the Coyotes 45-42 to pick up their first victory over the Coyotes in 15 tries Wednesday at Madera South. Coyotes head coach Jason Smith’s streak of beating the Stallions went even further with 19 straight wins, four as a coach of Chowchilla.
“We beat ourselves,” Smith said. “We don’t do the things we’re taught to do. We challenge a girl who’s a foot-and-a-half taller than us and wonder why she blocks our shot and we do it repeatedly. We don’t finish shots around the rim. It’s been our M.O. the past four games, shooting under 20 percent. We play hard. We’ve gotten better. As we’ve gotten better handling the press and handling the ball, we’ve gotten worse at shooting. We can’t make a jump shot and a lay up. It killed us tonight.”
The Coyotes shot 21 percent from the field. They were even worse in the second half, shooting 13 percent and made just one field goal in the fourth quarter and overtime. They also committed 31 turnovers.
The Stallions weren’t much better shooting, but made 24 percent of their shots, including 31 percent in the second half. They also committed 28 turnovers and made just 8-of-21 free throws (38 percent)
“We really wanted it,” Madera South head coach Johnny Sharp said. “We don’t have a great understanding, but we have fierce competitors. We competed without understanding. We ran the clock, but on that last shot, we should have pulled out to run clock.”
Lexi Eller led all scorers with 26 points, accounting for 58 percent of her team’s total and was the only player to score more than five points.
“We like Lexi to shoot,” Sharp said. “Once she gets an understanding of the game, she’s going to be a great player. She’s a good player, but once she gets the mental part of the game, she’ll be a great player.”
Both coaches used the game as a play-in game for the Central Section playoffs, The Stallions will enter the Div. IV playoffs, opening Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Coyotes, last year’s Div. III Valley Champions who were moved into Div. II, will end the season.
“At the end, it became more about us not losing,” Smith said. “That’s what you saw at the end of the ballgame. They outrebounded us on the offensive end all night long. That’s desire. They wanted it more than we did tonight and the score reflects that.”
Alyssa Fernandez was the only player in double figures for the Coyotes with 10 points. She also had seven rebounds. Camile DeAnda and BriAnn Houghton each had nine points. Houghton pulled down 16 rebounds while Sofia Perez had 12 rebounds to go with six points, including two clutch free throws at the end of regulation.
Both teams had trouble finding the bucket to open the game. It took almost eight minutes before Jonese Feliu scored the first bucket of the game to give Madera South a 2-0 lead.
DeAnda hit a 3-pointer and Fernandez scored down low for a 5-2 lead. An Eller offensive rebound was followed by a Fernandez free throw. Aleecia Rosel made a free throw with four seconds left for a 6-5 Coyote lead.
Houghton opened the second quarter scoring with a bucket and Fernandez went coast-to-coast with a rebound for a layup for a five-point lead.
Jackie Cortez scored down low for the Stallions.
Two free throws from Fernandez and a Houghton offensive putback opened a 14-7 lead. After a free throw by Madera South’s lone senior on Senior Night, Lei’Nya Bartlow, Cathy Figueroa kicked out to Fernandez for a 3-pointer and a 17-8 lead to complete a 7-1 run.
Eller followed with a 3-pointer and Rosel scored with about 30 seconds left in the half.
Madera’s Jenessa Fernandes, who scored eight points, made two free throws with 10.8 seconds left in the half for a 19-13 Coyotes lead.
More than two minutes went by in the third quarter before Fernandez found Perez for a layup for the first score of the second half for an eight-point lead.
After an Eller free throw, Fernandes hit a 3-pointer and Perez made a free throw for a 25-14 lead, Madera’s biggest of the game.
After missing its first eight shots of the third quarter, the Stallions closed by making five straight, including four from Eller. Eller’s final shot, a 3-pointer, cut the Coyotes’ lead to 30-28 at the end of the third quarter.
Eller hit a short jumper to open the fourth to tie the game at 30, but Fernandes hit a step-back 3-pointer, followed by a free throw from Houghton and DeAnda for a 35-30 lead with five minutes left.
Eller made two free throws to cut the lead to three. About two minutes later, Eller hit a 15-foot jumper, followed by a 10-footer to give Madera South a 36-35 lead with two minutes left in the game.
Perez hit two free throws to give the Coyotes the lead, but Kierra Smith hit a 20-foot 3-pointer with about 35 seconds left to give the Stallions a 39-37 lead.
DeAnda was fouled driving to the lane with 12.2 seconds left and sank both free throws to tie the game. Eller’s shot driving the lane went off the rim to send the game into overtime.
Eller opened the overtime with a short bucket and Treasurai Thomas put back a miss for a four-point lead.
However, Fernandez made two free throws and Perez made another with 1:52 left to cut the lead down to one. With less than 1:30 left in the overtime, Rosel made a layup for a three-point lead.
The Coyotes had three chances to tie the game, but came up empty for Madera South’s first-ever victory over Madera.