Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Alek Trukki scored 19 points and hit a game-high five 3-pointers during a 70-68 non-league loss to Kingsburg on Thursday.
The Madera Coyotes had a chance to turn a 15-point fourth quarter deficit into a game-tying shot, but it fell short in a non-conference game against the Kingsburg Vikings.
The Coyotes were outscored 22-12 in the second quarter, but closed the game Thursday with a flurry, outscoring Kingsburg 19-6 in he fourth in Joe Flores Gym.
“We just played so poorly in the first three quarters,” head coach David Lozano said. “I wish they would have had that same defensive intensity all game, it would have been a different game.”
The Coyotes didn’t turn the ball over the in the fourth quarter and forced 17 Kingsburg turnovers.
“We told them that defense triggers the offense,” Lozano said. “You have to continue to battle defensively. It’s hard for them to grasp it.”
Christian Aguilar led the Coyotes with 20 points, including four of Madera’s 10 3-pointers. Alek Trukki had 19 points and hit five 3-pointers. He also led the team with eight rebounds.
One of the keys to the game was free throw shooting. The Vikings went just 12-of-23 from the line to give the Coyotes a chance. However, Madera shot just 13-of-23 (57 percent) from the line.
“We could have gotten blown out,” Lozano said. “We could have gotten rocked. They showed toughness in the fourth quarter. That’s something we can build on.”
Aguilar opened the scoring with a 3-pointer and added a free throw for an early lead with all seniors on the court after Madera celebrated senior night.
Kingsburg came back with three straight buckets. However, Trukki found Aguilar wide open for a layup. Trukki followed with a 3-pointer for a 9-6 lead.
Zachary Roque found Aguilar for another layup and Aguilar hit a 3-pointer for a 14-8 lead.
After a Kingsburg layup, Aguilar hit a baseline 3-pointer and Trukki hit another 3-pointer after a Kingsburg bucket for a 20-12 lead. Kingsburg closed the first quarter with a 7-0 run for a 21-20 Coyotelead.
Samuel Hass made two free throws to open the second half scoring and reclaim the lead.
Kingsburg followed with four straight free throws before Kecian Primes hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 25. The Vikings scored six straight points to take control of the game.
Colt Nelson stopped the run with two free throws. However, Kingsburg scored nine straight points before another Aguilar layup. Kingsburg scored four more points to open a 14-point lead.
The Coyotes got two free throws from Primes and one from Eli Barrios for a 43-32 deficit at halftime.
Kingsburg opened the second half with two offensive putbacks and a free throw to open a 16-point lead.
Madera came back on a Trukki offensive putback on his own miss. Trukki added a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 11.
Kingsburg got another offensive putback, but Barrios went coast-to-coast on a rebound for a layup.
The Vikings made a pair of layups before a Barrios driving layup. Two more Kingsburg layups gave the Vikings a 60-42 lead.
Hass found Aguilar for a layup and Hass made a underhanded scoop layup. Aguilar made a free throw for five straight points.
Two Kingsburg offensive rebounds sandwiched another Hass layup for a 64-49 Vikings lead at the end of the third quarter.
Trukki opened the fourth quarter scoring with a 3-pointer. About two minutes later, Trukki hit another to cut the lead to nine.
Barrios then converted a 3-point play for a 9-0 run and cut the lead to six.
After a Kingsburg bucket, Primes made a driving layup, a free throw and a 3-pointer for a 15-2 Coyote run to cut Kingsburg’s lead to 66-64.
Primes answered a Kingsburg bucket with a free throw. Kingsburg added a layup for a 70-65 lead with 1:18 left in the game.
Both teams traded possessions before Aguilar hit a straightaway 3-pointer with 25.4 seconds left to cut the lead to 70-68.
Kingsburg went to free throw line and missed. Primes came down with the rebound. Madera had the ball and Barrios set up the offense. He found a lane down the right side and drove to the hoop.
Barrios’ layup attempt went off the side of the rim and Kingsburg came down the the rebound and ran out the clock on Madera’s comeback.