Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Sammy Hass rises up for a 3-point attempt during Tuesday’s season-opening victory over Selma. Hass hit five 3-pointers for a game-high 16 points in the win.
The Madera Coyotes boys basketball team almost squandered a 16-point lead, but a late-game surge led to a 61-51 over the Selma Bears in Joe Flores Gym.
“We have a lot to work on,” head coach David Lozano said. “The nice thing is they are all playing really hard. A lot of it is probably mental. They are energetic, they are flying around the court and hustling. We just have to clean the mental stuff.”
Eleven Coyotes scored Tuesday night. Sammy Hass scored a game-high 16 points, including five three-pointers. Kecian Primes added 13 points despite sitting most of the first half with foul trouble to offset three Selma players in double-figures.
“We turn up the tempo,” Lozano said. “The culture has been growing and growing. They just play really hard. We have to do that to have a chance. If you’re not making shots, you still have to battle.”
Three players scored six points and all 12 players pulled down a rebound in the victory. Gauge Buchanan led the Coyotes with seven rebounds while David Monge had six with three steals. Zach Roque also had three steals in helping Madera force 19 turnovers.
“Every day, we lead off with something defensively in practice,” Lozano said. “We have to win ugly, so that’s what we stress all the time.”
Primes opened the scoring with a driving layup and made a free throw for a three-point play. Monge picked up a steal and turned it into a layup for a five-point lead.
Selma hit a 3-pointer, but it took more than two minutes before either team added to its point total.
Madera ended the drought after a Monge steal that led to a Buchanan layup off an assist by Roque. Buchanan pulled down a rebound, fed to Roque, who assisted on a layup to Bryson Smith for a 9-3 lead.
After two Selma free throws, Hass hit a 3-pointer off an inbounds for a seven point lead. Selma made a layup, but A.J. Pickens found Roman Sandoval for a layup and Fawzet Saed closed the first quarter with an offensive putback for a 16-7 lead.
Selma opened the second quarter with four straight points to cut the lead to five.
Hass answered with a 3-pointer and Smith made a free throw for a 20-11 Coyotes’ lead.
After Selma made a free throw, Roque hit a 3-pointer for a 23-12 lead. Roque found Alex Cruz for a short bucket for a 9-1 run and a 13-point lead.
Selma closed the first half with three points despite a Cruz free throw for a 26-15 Coyotes’ lead at the half.
The Bears opened the second half with a 3-pointer and a bucket to cut the lead to six.
Alek Trukki hit a 3-pointer and Hass added another 3-pointer to open the lead to 12. Primes drained a 3-pointer for a 9-0 run and a 15-point lead.
After Selma hit a 3-pointer, A.J. Lara answered with a 3-pointer. The Bears added a layup before Primes came up with a steal and fed Monge for a layup to keep the lead at 15.
Hass answered a Selma layup with a 3-pointer off an inbounds play for a 16-point lead with 1:44 left in the third quarter.
Selma closed the third quarter scoring with a long jumper for a 43-29 Madera lead.
Primes almost gave the Coyotes the highlight of the season at the end of the period. He blocked a Selma layup attempt and came up with a rebound. He then tried a three-quarter shot that went off the rim at the buzzer.
Selma opened the fourth quarter with eight straight points to cut Madera’s lead to six.
Madera came back with a Primes free throw and a Hass 3-pointer off a pass from Roque to get the lead back to six.
Selma added a jumper and two free throws to get within six, but Primes made a driving layup. Selma left Trukki wide open and he made them pay with a 3-pointer for a 52-44 lead.
Selma added four free throws with two minutes left to cut the lead to four.
Madera came back with a Primes layup and a Saed putback to get the lead back to eight. Primes made two more free throws and Hass added another with 23.1 seconds left for a 7-0 run and a 5
The Bears hit a 3-pointer, but Monge made two free throws for a 9-3 run to close the game for a 61-51 victory.