Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Eli Barrios leans in for a shot against Sanger on Friday. Barrios finished with a team-high 21 points to lead the Coyotes to a 63-522 win over the Apaches.
The Madera Coyotes boys basketball team led for most of the night and pulled away in the final minutes, beating Sanger 63-52 at Joe Flores Gym.
The Coyotes held a 14-5 lead in the first quarter after a 3-point shot by Isaiah Monge and a 3-point play by senior Eli Barrios, who continued to attack the basket all Friday night long and finished the game with 21 points.
“Eli is special. If he’s aggressive, it helps us,” Madera head coach David Lozano said. “When he gets to the rack and goes up strong with some tenacity, it’s good for us. We need him to continue to do that.”
Kecian Primes made a layup at the buzzer to give the Coyotes an 18-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. Primes scored 12 points in the game.
The Apaches tied the game early in the second quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers by Luke Karle and Luke Dillon. Madera came back with a run of its own and pushed the gap to eight points after a jumper by Bryson Smith. Sanger only managed to cut the deficit to five points going into halftime.
Alek Trukki started the second half with a steal and a basket to give the Coyotes a 30-23 lead.
Primes followed up with a fadeaway jumper to add to Madera’s advantage.
After the Coyotes pushed the lead to double digits, the Apaches put together another run to cut the gap to one point.
Dillon made his third 3-pointer of the game as part of the run. Barrios then made a 3-pointer to give his team a 40-36 advantage.
Sanger made a pair of free throws to tie the game in the final minute of the third quarter, but Barrios came back with another layup to give Madera a 42-40 lead going into the final period.
The Coyotes came out with a 6-0 run in the fourth quarter, including an offensive rebound put back by Fawzat Saed and a layup by Barrios, which gave the home team a 48-40 advantage.
Again the Apaches answered, cutting the deficit to a single point after another 3-pointer by Dillon.
“We stressed guarding Dillon, try to make somebody else beat us and Dillon still torched us,” Lozano said. “He’s a heck of a shooter.”
The Coyotes pulled away with back-to-back layups and clutch free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
“That was a huge win,” Lozano said. “We stayed together. Sanger is a heck of a team. Our guys knew it was gonna be a dog-fight and they stuck together.”