Stallions rebound for CMAC win
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Hassan Bolden drives between two Sanger opponents during Friday’s victory. Bolden led all scorers with 23 points.
The Madera South Stallions boys basketball team knew what they were getting when the Sanger Apaches came to their gym for a County/Metro Athletic Conference game.
The Apaches had just dispatched No. 2 ranked San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno and were looking to stay undefeated in league. On the other hand, the Stallions lost a tough overtime game with Edison-Fresno and were looking to stay in the CMAC hunt.
After surrendering a nine-point second half lead, the Stallions got clutch buckets from Hassan Bolden and two key free throws from David Thomas to secure a 52-47 victory Friday over the Apaches.
“We’ve been here a lot with the close games,” head coach Jody Sharp said. “I’m proud of the kids because they have been in that situation and I want them to step forward, and they did. Sanger is tough. They are a good basketball team and kept coming. I knew they were going to come back. We had to fight through it. We had some guys step up to make huge defensive plays. David Thomas stepped up and made huge free throws. Hassan made some huge jump shots.”
Bolden led the Stallions with 23 points and was the only Stallion in double figures. Thomas scored eight. Junior Segura and Hakeem Primes added seven points each.
“This is going to put us back in the CMAC running,” Bolden said. “The coaches have been talking to me to be a leader. It was time to step up and get this win for us.”
“It was a grinder,” Sharp said. “All these games are going to be like that. We’re going on the road to Memorial to see what happens. We have to keep getting better and worrying about ourselves. We try to put ourselves in good position come playoff time. Hopefully, playing these good teams helps us. The guys have been through this two or three years. That helps too with the familiarity with it. They are accepting the challenge and stepping up to compete.”
Sharp was also proud of the way his team rebounded. In their loss to Edison, it seemed like the Tigers’ best offense was to shoot to get a rebound to put it in.
Bolden led the team with eight rebounds, Primes had six and Jonah Johnson and Kingsley Thomas each had four of the 33 team rebounds, including 14 on the offensive glass.
“Boxing out is something we’ve had problems with,” Sharp said. “I told the kids to take more pride in it. We’re not real big so we have to be feisty. I have to try to get all those 50-50 balls. We got quite a few of them and got more than we did against Edison. I’m proud of them because it shows me progress in our kids. Kingsley stepped up and played some huge minutes. He did a heck of a job being physical and getting rebounds and trying to score. Kingsley was huge.”
It wasn’t easy for the Stallions early, trailing 6-1 in the first quarter. A bucket from Primes, a driving bucket, an offensive putback and a 3-pointer from Johnson gave the Stallions a 10-7 lead heading into the second quarter.
The Stallions got free throws from Bolden and Tank Dickson for a 13-9 lead. A Segura 3-pointer and two more free throws from Bolden opened the lead to 18-10.
Segura completed an eight-point run with a 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer for a 21-10 lead. Sanger got two free throws before the half to trail by nine.
Bolden opened the second half scoring with two free throws. Sanger then converted a 3-point play. Primes made a layup and Thomas made two more free throws for a 27-15 lead, Madera South’s biggest lead of the game.
Sanger came back with two offensive putbacks. The Apaches added a layup and a tip in to cut the lead to seven.
Bolden put back his own miss to get the lead back to nine.
However, Sanger closed the third quarter and opened the fourth quarter on a 10-0 run to take a 33-32 lead.
Bolden tied the score and Primes hit a 3-pointer for a 36-33 lead.
Sanger came back with two buckets, but Bolden completed a 3-point play to keep the lead at two. Sanger made a free throw and an offensive putback to get the lead back. Thomas hit a pull-up 15-footer for a 41-40 lead. The two teams traded the lead 10 times in the fourth quarter. However, the two teams exchanged the lead just twice in the first three quarters.
Sanger took the lead with a 3-pointer for a 43-41 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Johnson hit a free throw to cut the lead to one and Bolden scored for a 44-43 Stallions lead with 1:45 left in the game.
Sanger’s Arron Mosby converted a 3-point play to give the Apaches a 46-44 lead.
Bolden came down on Madera South’s next trip and drained a 3-pointer with 1:22 left in the game. Mosby, who scored a team-high 17 points, made a free throw to tie the score.
Bolden came back and drained another 3-pointer with 33.7 seconds left for a 50-47 lead.
On Sanger’s next possession, Thomas stole the ball from Sanger and was fouled. He calmly hit two free throws with 31.3 seconds left for the 52-47 lead.
The Stallions defense was tough on the Apaches and didn’t let them get a shot off until five seconds were on the clock to record the victory.