Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera guard Cathy Figueroa tries to drive between two Edison defenders during Friday’s loss. Figueroa led the Coyotes with 16 points.
Twice the Madera Coyotes girls basketball team came within one possession of the Edison-Fresno Tigers in its County/Metro Athletic Conference game, but twice Edison went on scoring runs to take back control of the game.
The Coyotes closed to within three with about 6:30 left in the game, but the Tigers went on a 10-0 run for a 54-43 victory Friday in Joe Flores Gym.
“We’re getting better every game, lately,” head coach Jason Smith said. “The improvements we thought we would have seen earlier in the year are coming a little later than we wanted. If you look at tonight, every player that went into the game contributed. Sayra Chavez battled hard defensively and rebounded. We told her she was going to get an opportunity and to take advantage of it. She did that. Grace (Castellanos) hasn’t played much. I knew with the size she had, she could give us something today and today she gave us some baskets and rebounds. We’re growing. We’re becoming the team we knew they would become, but it’s a little later than we thought.”
Chavez pulled down two rebounds and Castellanos had four points with two rebounds and a steal. Cathy Figueroa led the Coyotes with 16 points. However, she was just 6-of-15 from the free throw line (40 percent).
The Coyotes didn’t help themselves at the charity stripe, only connecting on 8-of-21 free throws (38 percent). Other than Figueroa, Madeleine McNeil was the only other Coyote to make free throws.
Kaylee Patlan scored nine points and BriAnn Houghton added six.
Another big difference in the game was 3-point shooting. Edison drained eight 3-pointers while Madera made just three.
“We’re young and we’re battling hard,” Smith said. “That’s the one thing I’m so proud of them for. Their attitudes, they never give up and work hard in practice. They are seeing the results. That will carry over to the next season and give them a lot of confidence.”
McNeil opened the scoring with her two free throws. After Edison sank two buckets, Patlan made a layup and Figueroa converted a 3-point play for a 7-4 lead. After an Edison bucket, Houghton hit a short jumper, but Edison cut the lead back to one.
Near the end of the first quarter, Patlan hit a seven-foot jumper for an 11-8 lead.
Edison opened the second quarter on a 13-0 run for a 21-11 lead.
Figueroa stopped the run with a free throw. She added three more to cut the lead to 25-15.
Figueroa finally made Madera’s first field goal of the quarter in the final minute turning a defensive rebound into a layup. She then turned a steal into a layup to cut the Edison lead to 25-19.
Figueroa opened the second half scoring with a layup. Houghton put back a miss to cut the Edison lead to 25-23 after a 10-2 run.
The Tigers responded with seven straight points during a 12-2 run. Figueroa found Castellanos down low for Madera’s lone bucket in the run.
Madera closed the quarter with eight straight points. Castellanos put back a miss and Stephenie Jordan hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut Edison’s lead to 37-33 at the end of the third quarter.
Edison opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer, but Figueroa turned a rebound into a layup. McNeil followed with a layup to cut the lead to three.
However, Madera committed three turnovers and missed seven shots, including two free throws and three 3-pointers.
Edison took advantage by scoring 10 straight points for a 50-37 lead.
Patlan stopped the run with a 3-pointer. After Edison hit a jumper, Patlan hit a seven-foot jumper to cut the lead to 10. Edison hit a jumper for a 12-point lead in the final minute. However, Madera made just one-of-three free throws and dropped a 54-43 decision.