Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Andrea Garcia tries to dribble around the Panthers’ defender during Tuesday’s game in Joe Flores Gym.
The Madera Coyotes girls basketball team, missing injured starting guard Cathy Figueroa and forward BriAnn Houghton, was no match for a more athletic San Joaquin Memorial-Panthers girls basketball team that is the odds-on favorites to win the Div. II Section Championship.
The Coyotes held a 3-0 lead early, but the Panthers scored the next 21 points to take control of the game in an 82-17 victory Wednesday in Joe Flores Gym.
“We look to try to do things we can get better at,” head coach Jason Smith said. “I asked the girls if they saw something they can get better than. Every girl saw something like that. They are the most athletic team in the Valley. When you are playing a team like that, you have to work on getting better.”
The Coyotes trailed 19-3 at the end of the first quarter and 49-10 at the half. The Panthers then outscored the Coyotes 25-5 in the third quarter for a 74-15 lead and invoke a fourth quarter running clock.
“You just have to compete for four quarters, no matter what,” Smith said. “We did that, at times. The fact that so many answered what they learned from, that’s what we have to do in games like this.”
Camile Nunez hit a 3-pointer for the early 3-0 lead. Jasmine Levy found Stephenie Jordan for a layup and then Sofia Perez hit Jordan for another layup, but the Panthers jumped out to a 43-7 lead
Kaylee Patlan banked in a 3-pointer for the final Coyote points of the first half.
The Panthers went on a 17-0 run into the third quarter before Sayra Chavez made a layup after an offensive rebound.
Andrea Garcia hit another 3-pointer for the Coyotes, but the Panthers then went on a 12-0 run into the fourth quarter.
The Coyotes had trouble handling the Memorial defense, which forced 37 turnovers through the first three quarters.