Courtesy of Christopher Cross
Madera South guard Junior Segura drives to the lane during Thursday’s quarterfinal victory over Bishop Union. He scored 13 points with a team-high five steals in the win.
The Madera South Stallions have one more team to beat to earn a second straight trip to Selland Arena, home to the Div. IV Valley Championships, after a quarterfinal victory over Bishop Union in the quarterfinals.
The third-seeded Stallions kept the gas down for the first three quarters and eventually opened a 30-point lead before settling for a 69-50 victory over sixth-seeded Bishop Union on Thursday.
The Stallions had to wait an extra day to see who they were facing, but it gave Madera South coaches and opportunity to scout No. 2 Bakersfield Christian, who beat No. 10 McFarland on Friday.
“It was a lot better today,” head coach Jody Sharp said. “We didn’t shoot free throws well. I’m always going to find something to do better. I wish the group I had in at the end would have played better. The good thing is we’re moving on.”
Ten different Stallions scored in Thursday’s game, led by Hakeem Primes with 18 points. Junior Segura added 13 points as the only other player in double figures.
The Stallions forced 25 turnovers from the Broncos and 14 came by steals. Segura led the team with five steals.
“We want to get those turnovers in the backcourt because it helps us get on a roll offensively,” Sharp said. “Those things were key for us. We’re trying to create that. We’re also trying to keep our energy level up. That’s why we’re doing it. We’re trying to force those issues and get the game up and down more to get some easy baskets. For three quarters, we were able to do that.”
The Stallions shot 43 percent from the field in the first half while jumping out to a 40-25 lead. They outscored Bishop Union 14-4 in the third, but settled for shooting 29 percent in the second half. Madera South was also 6-of-13 from the free throw line.
Bishop Union kept pace with the Stallions in the first quarter. Segura opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, but the Broncos answered and added a layup for their only lead of the game, 5-3.
Kingsley Thomas made two buckets and Primes went coast-to-coast with a rebound for a 9-5 lead.
Primes answered a Bishop Union bucket with another rebound and layup. Bishop hit a long jumper, but Primes, again, answered. He made a layup and hit a 3-pointer after coming down with an offensive rebound on his own miss.
After a Bishop layup, Primes closed the first quarter scoring with a 3-pointer, his 12th point of the quarter, for a 19-11 lead.
Bishop Union scored the first five points of the second quarter to cut Madera South’s lead to three, but that was a close as they would get the rest of the game.
The Stallions responded with a 9-0 run. Segura started the run with a 3-pointer. Amire Green put back a miss, Primes made a layup and Segura went coast-to-coast with a rebound to open a 28-16 lead.
After Bishop Union made four free throws to cut the lead to eight, Thomas put back a miss for a 10-point lead.
The Broncos converted a 3-point play with a little more than two minutes left to cut Madera South’s lead to 30-23.
However, the Stallions closed the half on a 10-2 run. Andre Johnson started the run with a free throw. After a Primes steal, Nate Adams found Ralph White for a layup. After a Bishop bucket, White found Primes for a layup, Joel Galvan made two free throws and Johnson hit a 3-pointer for a 15-point lead at the half.
The Stallion s opened the lead to 20 to open the second half. Primes hit a 10-foot jumper. Despite Madera South missing five straight shots, Segura converted a 3-point play to open a 45-25 lead. In the scoring drought, the Stallions also forced five turnovers.
The Broncos made a free throw, but two rebounds and a steal from Adams helped lead to a Segura steal and layup. Victor Daza found Galvan for a layup and Jayshawn Thomas hit a 3-pointer to get the lead to 26.
Bishop Union countered with a jumper and a free throw, but Thomas made a 15-foot runner just before the third quarter buzzer for a 54-29 lead.
After the Broncos opened the fourth quarter with a jumper, David Thomas capped a five-shot possession with a layup. Bishop sandwiched two Thomas free throws with a pair of buckets.
White found Green for a short jumper and Green put back a miss for a bucket. White put back his own miss for a 64-35 lead.
Bishop Union scored four straight points before a Xavier Garcia 10-foot runner and another Jayshawn Thomas 3-pointer for a 69-39 Madera South lead, their biggest of the game.
The Broncos closed the game with an 11-0 run to cut the lead to 19 by the end of the game while Madera South missed three shots and three free throws.