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Coyotes fall in final seconds to Thunder

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Madera’s Kevin Berdejo tries to look for his shot between two Buhach Colony defenders in Wednesday’s last second loss to the Thunder.


The Madera Coyotes boys basketball team used a 28-point second quarter to jump out to a 1-point second half lead over the Buhach Colony-Atwater Thunder, but saw it go away in a 62-61 last second loss at the Madera South Classic.

The Coyotes’ big men had trouble keeping the ball out of Gerald Braxton’s hands. He scored a game-high 30 points, including going 13-for-14 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. His final two gave the Thunder the game-winning points with 3.9 seconds left.

Madera had a big shooting night from beyond the 3-point arc, especially in the second quarter. The Coyotes hit 12 3-pointers, including five from Alek Trukki, who finished with a team-high 19 points. Sammy Hass added 15 points and two 3-pointers and Eli Barrios scored 13 with three 3-pointers.

However, it was a series a mistakes that gave the victory to the Thunder.

The Thunder opened a 12-7 lead in the first quarter and extended it to 15-8 after a Braxton bucket.

Hass drove the lane for a layup, but a Thunder free throw opened a 16-10 lead.

The Coyotes exchanged buckets with Braxton for six straight possessions and nine of 10.

Hass opened the second quarter scoring with a 3-pointer. After the first Braxton bucket of the quarter, Fawzet Saed scored down low off a Barrios pass.

Another Braxton bucket led to a Trukki 3-pointer. Braxton scored two straight for the Thunder before Hass sank a 3-pointer to cut the lead to three.

The Thunder added two more with a bucket, but Hass drove the lane, made the bucket and the free throw for the 3-point play and cut the lead to two.

Barrios hit a 3-pointer off a pass from Kevin Berdejo. After a steal from Barrios, Kecian Pries tipped in an offensive rebound. Berdejo followed with a 3-pointer for a 14-2 Madera run and open a 32-26 lead.

After a Thunder layup, the Coyotes closed the first half with six straight points. Berdejo started the run with a free throw. Trukki scored on a seven-foot runner with the shot clock expiring and followed with a 3-pointer for a 38-28 halftime lead.

Madera extended the run to 10-0 after Hass converted a steal into a layup and Barrios hit Trukki for a layup after a rebound.

Braxton stopped the run with a free throw, but Madera led 42-29.

After a Braxton offensive putback, Trukki hit a 3-pointer and Barrios turned a steal into a layup to open a 47-31 lead.

The Thunder made two free throws and a layup, but Barrios got the lead to 15 with a 3-pointer.

Buhach closed the third quarter with six straight points to cut Madera’s lead to nine.

The Thunder opened the fourth quarter with seven straight points to cut the lead to two on a 13-0 run.

In the first two-and-half minutes of the fourth, Madera missed five shots and turned the ball over three times.

Madera came back with a 3-pointer from Trukki off a Primes drive. After a free throw from Berdejo, Barrios hit a 3-pointer off a pass from Primes behind a Berdejo screen for a 57-50 lead with two minutes left.

Then Braxton started hitting free throws. He started his run of 12 straight makes with two with 2:34 left. He added two more with 1:53 left and 1:31 left to cut Madera’s lead to 57-54.

Buhach added a bucket with 1:04 left in the game, but the Coyotes looked to have closed the game when Primes hit a floater with about 25 seconds left.

Buhach worked to get the ball to the 6-foot, 6-inch Braxton and succeeded. He was fouled with 12.5 seconds left and made two free throws to cut the lead to one.

Primes was fouled with 11.3 seconds left. He missed the front end of a one-and-one. However, Buhach came down with the rebound and threw the ball away. Bryson Smith was the recipient and his layup gave the Coyotes a 61-58 lead with 6.5 seconds left.

Unfortunately, the Coyotes were hit with a technical foul for hanging on the rim and Braxton made two free throws to cut the lead to one.

On the ensuing inbounds, the ball, of course, went to Braxton down low. He was fouled and calmly made both free throws or a 62-61 lead with 3.9 seconds left.

Primes had a chance for the game winner, getting off a contested 3-pointer, but his shot hit the back of the rim for the loss.


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