Courtesy of Christopher Cross
Madera’s Cathy Figueroa drives to the rim for a layup to score two of her team-high 14 points in Friday’s victory over Madera South with Lexi Cota defending.
Keyed by another well-played first half, the Madera Coyotes girls basketball team held off the Madera South Stallions long enough for a 53-48 victory.
Cathy Figueroa led the Coyotes with 14 points while going 8-of-17 from the free throw line Friday. Five other players scored six or more points for the Coyotes. Camile Nunez scored eight while Sofia Perez and Stephenie Jordan scored seven each. BriAnn Houghton added six points.
“We played an excellent first half,” head coach Jason Smith said. “We told them what to expect from them in the second half. They gave it to us and we didn’t respond very well. We tightened up and missed our free throws. When we had the opportunity to sink four straight free throws and didn’t make any of them, I thought that was going to be a point that killed us. Free throws have been our Achilles heel.”
Smith’s Coyotes were 21-of-39 from the free throw line. Although better than the 41 percent in their previous game against the Sanger Apaches, Madera shot just54 percent from the line against Madera South.
“We were tough down the stretch,” Smith said. “Sofia was very physically strong and had some great rebounds. Cathy’s ankle was swollen last night and showed no signs tonight. Jasmine Levy played a lot in the first half and played tough.”
However, the game couldn’t find its rhythm because of the calls of the officials. Madera was hit with 22 fouls while Madera South was called for 28, including two players fouling out.
“The game got out of hand a long time ago,” Madera South head coach Johnny Sharp said. “That’s what happens.”
Lexi Eller led the Stallions with 18 points. Arelis Chavez added 14 points to go with 15 rebounds, including 12 on the offensive glass. She also had six blocks to go with three steals.
Nunez opened the scoring with a 3-pointer. Madera South came back with an offensive rebound setback from Chavez. Briseida Vasquez made a free throw for the Stallions and Jonese Feliu got a steal and made a layup for a 5-3 Madera South lead.
Houghton scored down low for the Coyotes, but Eller answered with a steal and layup. Perez tied the game with a layup off a Figueroa inbounds pass.
The Coyotes kept the pressure up and Jordan got a steal and fed Figueroa for a layup. Houghton got a steal and made a layup. Kaylee Patlan hit a 14-foot jumper for an 8-0 Madera run and a 13-7 lead.
After a Chavez free throw, Jordan made a driving layup for a 15-8 first quarter lead.
Jasmine Levy opened the second quarter with a free throw to extend Madera’s run to 11-1. After a minute without a score, Aasyria Goins made two free throws to extend the lead to 18-8.
Nunez made another free throw for a 14-1 run and a 12-point lead.
Madera South’s Alejandra Hernandez hit a 15-foot jumper to cut the lead to 10. More than two minutes went by without a score before Figueroa made three-of-four free throws for a 23-10 lead.
Madera South’s Angel Orgets hit a 3-pointer, but the Coyotes got a free throw from Nunez and two more from Goins. One free throw each from Nunez and Goins gave the Coyotes a 28-13 halftime lead.
Madera South opened the second half with an 8-0 run. Chavez started the run with a free throw. Eller hit a 10-footer and made a layup off an assist from Feliu.
Chavez, off an assist from Kim Prudente, scored down low to keep the run going. Chavez added a free throw with 3:48 left in the quarter to cut the Coyotes’ lead to seven.
Madera responded with a Jordan jumper and a 3-pointer off an Andrea Garcia offensive rebound to get the lead back to 12.
Braya Walker cut the Coyotes’ lead to 10 with a short jumper and Chavez made another free throw for a 33-24 Madera lead.
With less than a minute left in the third quarter, Madera South was called for a foul and then was hit with a technical foul. With an opportunity for four free throws, Madera didn’t make one and then turned the ball over.
Chavez took advantage with a short jumper for a 33-26 Coyote lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Perez made a free throw to get the lead to eight, but Eller answered with a free throw. Figueroa made a layup, but Lexi Cota hit a 3-pointer to cut Madera’s lead to 36-30. Eller hit a five-footer on the next possession to cut the lead to four.
Nunez answered with a 17-foot jumper, but Prudente made a free throw. Perez made a free throw for a 39-32 Coyotes’ lead.
Eller then hit two free throws to cut the lead to five. Figueroa made a free throw, but Eller made another.
Figueroa made a layup for a seven-point lead with four minutes left. Eller cut the lead down to five with a bucket.
Madera came right back with a Houghton offensive rebound putback and a Figueroa free throw to get the lead back to eight.
Back-to-back Eller buckets cut the Coyotes’ lead to four with less than three minutes left in the game. Perez extended Madera’s lead with a 3-pointer.
Chavez put back a missed shot for a 48-43 Madera lead with 1:09 left in the game.
Figueroa closed out the game with three free throws to extend the lead to eight with 39.3 seconds left in the game. Chavez put back her own miss to cut the lead to six, however Goins closed out the Coyotes’ scoring with a free throw with 11.2 seconds left.
Madera South’s Jackie Chavez closed the scoring with a 3-pointer for a 53-48 Coyotes’ victory.