Manuel Guillen/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s David Monge dribbles past an Edison defender during Thursday’s home finalé loss to the Tigers.
The Madera Coyotes boys basketball team struggled to contain the high-flyers from Edison-Fresno in the last game of the regular season.
The Tigers started fast and closed the deal in the final minutes, winning 66-54 to spoil senior night at Joe Flores Gym on Thursday.
Edison jumped out to a 9-1 lead after a 3-pointer by Obadiah Curtis. Avery Johnson’s dunk with three minutes left gave the Tigers an 11-3 advantage. Curtis followed up with a bucket inside to give Edison a double digit lead. Bryson Smith made a jumper for Madera to make the score 13-5 at the end of the first quarter.
“We knew we could play better than that. That wasn’t the best basketball we’ve ever played,” Madera senior Kecian Primes said. “We knew we could come out better if we just put our minds to it.”
The Coyotes came out with five consecutive points in the second quarter, cutting the deficit to three points after a 3-pointer by Kevin Berdejo. Isaiah Monge followed up with a 3-pointer, while Fawzat Saed added a mid-range shot to give the Coyotes their first lead. Sammy Hass made another jumper for Madera to extend the gap.
“Our teammates encouraged us to keep going and keep doing better and just play the game,” Hass said.
Edison regained its lead after consecutive fastbreak layups. The Coyotes converted two free throws in the final seconds, but still trailed 27-22 at the break.
Madera still trailed by five when Primes made a pair of free throws with 5:30 left in the third quarter. Edison extended its advantage to nine points after a close range shot by Jeremiah Hannah. Monge hit a 3-pointer in the final minute to cut Edison’s lead to six points going into the final period.
After Curtis made a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter, Primes came back with a 3-point play to cut the lead to four points.
Edison pushed the gap to eight points before Primes answered with another 3-pointer from the corner.
With two minutes left, the Coyotes once again found themselves in a nine-point hole. The Tigers then sealed the win with clutch free throws down the stretch.
Despite the bitter loss, Madera’s seniors were able to proudly reflect on their high school journey.
“It means a lot to me playing here,” Hass, a senior, said. “It’s our home court and we have a lot to defend and we love playing the game.”
“From freshman year to senior year, playing here has been a great time,” Primes added. “I loved putting a show for our hometown and trying to put it on the map.”
Curtis scored 26 points for the Tigers, while Primes led the Coyotes with 19.