Coyotes advance to Cen-Cal title game
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Ashley Hernandez (4) looks for the open player while being guarded by Matilda Torres’ Kaylin Perez (5) and Sabrina Cerrillo during Wednesday’s Cen-Cal Holiday Invitational semifinal.
With a solid defensive performance, the Madera Coyotes girls basketball team advanced to the Cen-Cal Holiday Tournament championship game with a 35-21 victory over host Matilda Torres in the semifinals.
The Coyotes didn’t allow the Toros to score more than seven points in all four quarters and held the Toros to just two points in the third for the win Wednesday.
Madera played Selma, who defeated Madera South, in the championship game Thursday.
Rhynne Mitchell led the Coyotes with 13 points while Aaliyah String added eight points and 11 rebounds. Brooke Houghton scored seven points.
The Toros didn’t have a player score more than eight points and just four players scored. Sheng Lee led the Toros with eight points while Kaylin Perez scored seven points.
String put the Coyotes on the scoreboard with a driving layup, but Perez drained a 3-pointer for the lead. More than four minutes passed before either team scored.
Ashley Hernandez stopped the drought with a layup. Lee tied the score with a free throw.
Then, Mariah Taddei made a layup off a String assist to begin a 6-0 run. Mitchell made a layup and Houghton made a layup off an inbounds pass from Eliana Jaramillo for a 10-4 lead.
Sabrina Cerrillo hit a 3-pointer for the Toros to cut the lead to three, but String made a pair of free throws for a 12-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Mitchell opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer for an eight-point lead.
J’Lynn Mitchell made a layup for the Toros to cut the lead to six. However, neither team scored for more than three minutes before String hit a short jumper.
Mitchell found Hernandez for a layup to open a 19-9 second quarter lead.
After Houghton made a free throw, Karina Sandoval found Lee for a layup to cut the lead to nine.
However, Mitchell made a pair of free throws and turned a Jaramillo steal into a layup for a 24-11 lead. Perez made a free throw before the end of the first half for a 12-point Madera lead.
Houghton opened the second half with a layup for Madera. Again, the two teams went into a scoring drought, this one lasting four minutes before Lee hit a 10-foot jumper for the only Torres points fo the quarter.
Hougthon hit a 15-foot jumper, Mitchell made a free throw and beat the third quarter buzzer with a 30-foot 3-pointer for a 32-14 lead.
It took the two teams more than four minutes to score in the fourth quarter. A Mitchell free throw gave the Coyotes a 19-point lead.
The Toros showed signs of life when Cerrillo came up with a pair of steals that led to layups by Lee and Cerrillo.
However, the teams combined for five points over the last three minutes. String made a pair of free throws for the Coyotes and Perez hit a 3-pointer for the Toros for the 35-21 final score.