Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Kecian Primes goes to the hoop during Friday’s loss to San Joaquin Memorial in Joe Flores Gym.
The Madera Coyotes boys basketball team rallied for a second half comeback effort, but came up short in the final second and lost 66-64 against San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno at Joe Flores Gym.
Down 43-30 at halftime, the Coyotes picked up the defense in the third quarter and forced several turnovers to stifle the Panthers.
Madera’s offense struggled at the start of the second half, but it was only a matter of time before the shots started falling Friday night.
Madera head coach David Lazano said his team wasn’t getting back in transition in the first half, but they picked up their game on offense and defense in the second half.
“Our guys made plays and hit big shots,” Lazano said. “They trusted each other.”
Alek Trukki started the comeback with a three-pointer in the third quarter, which cut the deficit to 11 points. A layup by Samuel Hass then brought the Coyotes within single digits. The Panthers, however, pushed the lead back to 12 points.
With under a minute left in the third quarter, Eli Barrios and Kecian Primes hit back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead to six points.
Trukki drained two more three-pointers early in the fourth quarter to help the Coyotes cut the deficit to two. Primes then added two more from long range, while Trukki followed up with his third three-pointer of the quarter to give the Coyotes a 61-60 lead.
With 1:30 left, the Panthers made a free throw and put back an offensive rebound to take a 65-64 lead.
Another free throw with eight seconds left gave the Panthers a 66-64 lead.
Hass missed a shot at the buzzer as the Panthers sealed the win.
“Memorial has a lot of good players,” Lazano said. “It’s a tough league we’re in, but we don’t make excuses. We just have to compete. We hung tough with one of the best teams in the league.”