Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Kaylee Patlan gets off a shot during Tuesday’s loss to the Merced Bears in Joe Flores Gym.
After a 30 point loss to the Merced Bears last year, the Madera Coyotes girls basketball team cut it by 23 in a 42-35 loss in Joe Flores Gym.
The Coyotes couldn’t keep the Bears off the boards Tuesday night and the Bears took advantage of Madera’s inexperience for the win.
“I thought we battled,” head coach Jason Smith said. “Last year, that team beat us by 30. It shows how much this group of girls have grown. We had more chances and opportunities tonight, but we have to be more patient on offense. When they were playing man in the first half, I was calling for more ball screens and no one came. When they came, we took off too soon, resulting in an offensive foul. It’s little things. Right now, I’m coaching every single possession.”
Cathy Figueroa led the Coyotes with 13 points, but she was the only player in double-figures.
“Cathy was super strong tonight,” Smith said. “They know what to do, but they are a little hesitant or a little quick to do it some times.”
BriAnn Houghton battled first half foul trouble, but still scored eight points with eight rebounds.
Unlike Madera’s home opening win against Los Banos where Figueroa and Houghton scored 32 of the team’s 34 points, four other players scored for the Coyotes.
However, it was a 21-16 second half by Merced that was the difference.
“I told them at halftime, whichever team came out more assertive and more aggressive will end up being the team to beat,” Smith said. “We were passive, we weren’t attacking the rebounds. We have some young players making young player mistakes. We’re growing. There are a lot of things to clean up and a lot of things we can clean up. If we can do that and play consistently well, we’ll be pretty good.”
Houghton opened the scoring with a 15-foot jumper. However, it took almost two minutes before Madera added to the lead with a Figueroa free throw.
Merced scored three straight points to tie the game. Houghton gave the Coyotes the lead with two free throws.
The Bears scored five straight points to take the lead.
However, Figueroa hit a seven-foot jumper and a layup to take a 9-8 lead before Merced made a layup to reclaim the lead.
Figueroa made a free throw to tie the game. Merced answered with a layup and Figueroa closed the first quarter scoring with a layup to tie the game at 12.
After Andrea Garcia made a layup for the lead, Merced tied the game with a layup.
Figueroa found Kaylee Patlan for a layup and the lead. Merced came back with a layup, an offensive putback and a 3-pointer over the next three minutes for a 21-16 lead.
Katelyn Fernandez found Stephanie Jordan for a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 21-19 at the half.
Merced opened the second half on fire with nine straight points to jump out to an 11-point lead.
Madera battled back with a 7-0 run to close the quarter. Figueroa made two free throws, Aasyria Goins banked in a 3-pointer and Figueroa found Garcia for a short jumper to cut the lead to 30-26 at the end of the third.
Figueroa opened the fourth quarter scoring with a layup to cut Merced’s lead to two.
However, Merced answered back with eight straight points to get the lead to 10. The Bears hit a 10-foot jumper to halt an almost seven minute scoring drought.
Figueroa found Houghton for a short jumper to stop the run. After a Merced jumper, Figueroa was fouled on a 3-pointer attempt. She made all three free throws to cut the lead to seven.
Merced opened the lead back to nine with a layup with about a minute left in the game.
Jasmine Levy closed the scoring by putting back a miss at the buzzer for a 42-35 final score.