Courtesy of Christopher Cross
Madera South’s Jose Villafan goes up for a shot during Wednesday’s victory over McFarland. Villafan helped lead a second half comeback in the victory with eight points.
The Madera South Stallions boys basketball team erased an 11-point halftime lead and pulled away for a 61-55 victory in the first round of the Div. IV Central Section playoffs.
The eight-seeded Stallions outscored No. 9 McFarland 39-22 in the second half. The Stallions played top seed Bakersfield Christian on Friday in the quarterfinals.
“I told them about the situation we were in,” head coach Jody Sharp said about what he told his team at halftime. “They had a choice. We could go out and do the simple things better and clean up the things we didn’t do well in the first half. Or we can disappoint the people who came to watch them play. It was up to them.”
Andre Johnson scored a team-high 23 points, including hitting Madera South’s only 3-pointers of the game. He scored 14 of the Stallions’ 19 points in the fourth quarter.
“Coach talked to me and said I was falling back,” Johnson said. “I focused on not falling back and holding my form. Coach kept telling me to keep shooting.”
Joel Galvan added 10 points with eight rebounds. Jessie Ford and Jose Villafan added eight points each. Villafan added five rebounds and three steals off the bench.
“Jose played very well,” Sharp said. “He did a great job. He’s a big body and they had two big body guys. He helped us shrink the lead and get the lead.
“It was ugly for us because of the things we were not doing. They have guys that can play and make shots. It was a situation where we had to clean things up in the second half and not have people do things they are not supposed to be doing and let the other people that are supposed to do it. Like Andre hitting 3-pointers and play within ourselves.”
McFarland stayed in the game because of two factors — free throw shooting and Francisco Gonzalez. The Cougars shot 73 percent (16-of-22) from the line while the Stallions were just 6-of-14 (43 percent).
Gonzalez scored 14 of McFarland’s 22 points in the second half to lead a 16-0 run into the halftime break. He also scored a game-high 24 points and hit three 3-pointers.
McFarland jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead and a 6-2 lead after a Jayshawn Thomas offensive putback. Jesse Ford scored two straight buckets to tie the game at six.
After two McFarland free throws, Johnson converted a 3-point play for a 9-8 lead.
McFarland made a free throw and put back a miss on the second one for an 11-9 lead. Villafan closed the quarter with a five-foot jumper to tie the game at 11 heading into the second quarter.
Galvan made a layup and Johnson hit a pull-up 15-foot jumper for a four-point lead. Villafan answered two Gonzalez free throws with a baseline layup. After two more Gonzalez free throws, Jonathan Garcia found Ford for a layup and then scored on a driving layup for a 21-15 lead.
After a McFarland putback, Thomas hit a free throw for a five-point Stallions’ lead.
Then, the Cougars got hot. Gonzalez hit back-to-back 3-pointers. After three missed Stallions’ shots, Gonzalez made a layup and the Cougars hit a 3-pointer for a six-point lead.
After a Stallions turnover, McFarland hit its fourth 3-pointer of the quarter for a 14-0 run. After another Madera South turnover, Gonzalez closed the quarter with a layup for a 33-22 lead heading into the half.
Garcia opened the second half with a layup, but McFarland answered. Johnson made a layup and Galvan put back a miss to cut the lead to seven.
Galvan got an offensive putback on his third try on his own shot to cut the lead to five.
After a McFarland free throw, Thomas made a layup and Johnson followed with another to cut the lead to two after a 12-3 run.
McFarland made a layup, but Galvan and Jonbree Neal combined for the next four points to tie the score. Galvan found Neal for the first layup while Neal returned the favor with a feed to Galvan for a layup.
McFarland scored four straight points to retake the lead. However, it was the Cougars’ final lead of the evening.
Villafan hit a short runner and added a five-foot jumper to tie the game at 42 heading into the fourth quarter.
Johnson opened the quarter with a 3-pointer to take the lead. After two McFarland free throws, Johnson hit another 3-pointer for a 48-44 lead.
After a McFarland travel violation, Johnson drained his third straight 3-pointer. On the ensuing possession, Galvan picked off a Cougars’ pass and went in for the layup and a 53-44 lead.
McFarland hit a jumper and a layup to cut the lead down to five. Johnson answered with a pull-up 15-foot jumper. McFarland made a layup and a short jumper to cut the lead down to three with a minute left in the game.
Ford took back control with a layup off a pass from Neal for a 57-52 lead. In the final 40 seconds, Johnson made three-of-four free throws and Garcia added another while the Cougars made three free throws for the 61-55 final.