Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Sofia Perez shots for three during Friday’s loss to Sanger. Perez led the Coyotes with 13 points, including three 3-pointers.
The Madera Coyotes girls basketball team had trouble holding onto the ball and it cost them in a
65-42 County/Metro Athletic Conference-opening loss to the Sanger Apaches in Joe Flores Gym.
The Coyotes committed 39 turnovers in the loss and Sanger took advantage of it. They committed just nine in the game while outscoring the Coyotes 38-21 in the first and third quarters Friday.
“We turned the ball 13 times in the first quarter and that allowed them to get a 10-point lead,” head coach Jason Smith said. “It’s exactly what we work on in practice. It’s about rotating the ball against the press, being patient against the press.”
The Coyotes did what they wanted and limited Sanger leading scorer Taylor Roth to just four points. However, Annie Lopez scored 23 points, including 12 in the third quarter.
“We calmed down in the second quarter and cut the lead to three,” Smith said. “It’s consistency with us. The first and third quarters killed us with turnovers. Everything we talked about at halftime didn’t happen in the second half. We talked about cutting down on turnovers, talked about finishing shots inside the key, we talked about communicating.”
Sofia Perez led the Coyotes with 13 points, including all three Madera 3-pointers. BriAnn Houghton pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds, but scored just two points. Cathy Figueroa scored nine points and Madeleine McNeil added eight.
“The missed shots and turnovers killed us,” Smith said. “We got the shots we wanted in the first half. We shot about 30 percent in the blocks. That was the whole key.”
Sanger jumped to an 11-3 lead behind two layups off three Madera turnovers. After a layup from Figueroa, Sanger made a short bucket. Katelyn Fernandez converted a 3-point play to cut the Sanger lead to five.
Sanger scored the next eight points to open its lead to 12. Two free throws from Stephanie Jordan and one from Kaylee Patlan cut the lead to nine at the end of the first quarter.
Sanger scored on a layup to open the second quarter scoring.
Madera scored seven straight points to cut the lead down to four. Houghton put back a miss and found McNeil for a layup. McNeil put back a missed free throw and Figueroa made a free throw.
After a Sanger layup, Perez made a free throw and McNeil made two more to cut the Apaches’ lead to three.
However, Sanger closed the first half on a 10-4 run for a 34-25 halftime lead.
McNeil made a layup from Figueroa and Figueroa went coast-to-coast with a rebound and a layup to get within eight. Lopez scored two buckets before Perez hit a 3-pointer.
After Sanger made two field goals, Perez hit another 3-pointer to stay within 10. The Apaches closed the third quarter with a 3-pointer and two buckets for a 52-35 lead.
Sanger opened the lead to 20 with a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter.
After a Grace Castellanos free throw, Sanger made a free throw and a layup to open the lead to 22.
Perez converted a 3-point play, Miranda Solis made a free throw and Figueroa made a layup to keep the Coyotes within 20.
However, Sanger scored the final five points of the game for the 65-42 victory.