Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
With Madera South’s Jackie Cortez trailing, Madera’s BriAnn Houghton dribbles the ball up the court. She scored 15 points with seven rebounds in Tuesday’s win over the Stallions.
With about four minutes left in the game, the Madera Coyotes girls basketball team shifted gears and started making shots to overcome a 14-point deficit for a 46-42 victory over cross-town rivals, Madera South.
After Madera South took a 40-26 lead after a Lexi Eller layup, the Coyotes went 6-of-8 from the field, including two clutch 3-pointers from Stephenie Jordan and six straight made free throws from Cathy Figueroa, to erase the deficit. Meanwhile, Madera South missed its last five shots and went just 2-of-6 from the free throw line while committing four turnovers Tuesday night.
“Stephenie’s 3-pointer was the turning point,” Madera head coach Jason Smith said. “We finally just started playing Coyote basketball. For three-and-a -third quarters, I didn’t recognize the team playing. We couldn’t catch the ball, we couldn’t dribble the ball, we couldn’t make a layup. We were frustrated and panicky. We were lethargic on defense and didn’t rebound.
“Kaylee Patlan gave us a big lift. She made some big plays. Jasmine Levy played strong and protected the ball. Stephenie hit a big 3-pointer. Our defense was stellar down the stretch. They changed what they were doing. We took Lexi away down the stretch.”
Madera South looked to be the aggressor for most of the game after going on a 9-0 run in the second quarter to take the lead.
“I told them they started playing for themselves and not for the team,” Madera South head coach Johnny Sharp said. “That’s the result every time you play for yourself.”
Figueroa and BriAnn Houghton each scored 15 points to lead the Coyotes. Houghton pulled down seven rebounds while Figueroa had six rebounds and went 9-of-10 from the free throw line. As a team, the Coyotes went 17-of-24 (71 percent) from the line.
“We were told don’t let the score affect you,” Houghton said. “Our coaches told us to think the score is 0-0 and to play our hardest, no matter what. It was just all heart. We wanted to tough on our Senior Night. It was just a matter of effort. It was so cool to get the win. I did not want to lose.”
Eller scored a game-high 23 points for the Stallions to go with nine rebounds and five steals. She didn’t help the Stallions from the free throw line, going 0-for-4. The team went 4-of-13 (31 percent) from the line.
“We are still where they need to be,” Sharp said. “They are going to play my way or we’re going to have nights like this.”
Eller scored the first points of the game with a jumper. Sofia Perez gave the Coyotes the lead with a 3-pointer and Houghton followed by going coast-to-coast with a rebound.
Eller hit another mid-range jumper to cut the lead to one, but Houghton, again, went coast-to-coast with a rebound for a 7-4 lead.
Both teams struggled to score for the next two minutes before Jackie Cortez found Arelis Chavez for a bucket to cut Madera’s lead to 7-6 at the end of the first quarter. The Coyotes committed 10 turnovers in the first quarter and attempted just six shots, but still led.
Figueroa made a free throw for an 8-6 lead, but the Stallions started to take over.
Back-to-back buckets from Eller gave the Stallions the lead. Braya Walker put back a blocked shot and Alejandra Hernandez hit a 3-pointer to open a 15-8 lead.
Figueroa stopped the run with a layup, but Eller hit another jumper to get the lead back to seven.
Camile Nunez made both ends of a one-and-one twice to cut the lead to three before the half. However, Kim Prudente found Shayla Lopez for a Stallions’ bucket and Eller made another layup for a 21-14 Stallions’ lead at the half.
Houghton opened the second half with a steal and layup, but Cortez hit a jumper.
Houghton made another layup, but the Stallions responded with free throws from Chavez and Walker to keep the lead at seven. Eller extended the lead to 27-18 with a jumper.
After a Houghton free throw, Eller made a layup to get the lead to 10 with five minutes left.
Hernandez made a layup to extend the lead to 12. Figueroa turned a steal into a layup, but Eller hit a 3-pointer for a 34-21 lead. Figueroa made a pair of free throws with two seconds left in the quarter for a nine-point Stallions’ lead.
Madera South opened the fourth quarter with a layup by Walker off an Eller assist.
Jordan was fouled on a 3-point attempt, but made just one-of-three free throws to cut the lead to 12.
Houghton made a pair of free throws, but Eller hit a long jumper and a layup for a 40-26 lead, Madera South’s biggest lead of the game.
However, the Coyotes started to come back. Houghton put back a miss to begin the run.
Then, the Coyotes scored on six straight possessions while keeping the Stallions off the scoreboard. Jordan kickstarted the comeback with a 3-pointer. After a Levy block and rebound, Figueroa made a layup. After a Levy steal, Nunez made a layup for a 9-0 run.
Jordan extended the run to 12 points with a long 3-pointer to cut the lead to two. Figueroa made two free throws on back-to-back possessions to extend the run to 16-0 and give the Coyotes a 42-40 lead with 1:33 left on the clock.
Madera South had a chance to tie, but missed two free throws with a minute left. After a Madera South miss, Nunez found Houghton on the inbounds with 36 seconds left for a 44-40 lead.
Chavez made a pair of free throws with 21.4 seconds left to cut the lead to two. However, on the inbounds, the Stallions had trouble trying to foul the Coyotes to get them to the line. They finally got to Figueroa with 3.4 seconds left. She made both free throws for a 46-42 lead.
On the ensuing inbounds, Madera South threw the ball out of bounds to end the game.