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Coyotes fall late to Pirates in opener

The Madera Coyotes boys basketball team battled back and made a comeback at the end, but the Reedley Pirates held on for a 51-45 victory in the season opener in Joe Flores Gym.

“We missed a lot of free throws,” head coach David Lozano said. “In a close games, those free throws can be momentum killers. We needed to get into rhythm and make some perimeter shots. Free throw shooting needs to get better.”

The Coyotes shot 9-of-20 from the free throw line. However, Reedley wasn’t much better, making 9-of-19 on April 20.

Kevin Bedejo led the Coyotes with 22 points, but he was the only player to score more than six points and the only player to shoot more than three free throws.

“We are trying to keep the spirits high,” Lozano said. “We were shut down and didn’t have a full offseason. We’re missing guys. The positivity the staff has to do and kids have to do, we’re trying to generate that. The runs are going to come and go, but if we stick together, we can stand tall.”

The Coyotes jumped out to the quick lead behind 3-pointers from Raul Medrano and Bedejo. Reedley battled back to tie the game before Madera’s Fawzat Saed gave the Coyotes the lead.

Reedley hit a 3-pointer to take the lead, but free throws from Jayshon Gonzalez and Medrano gave the Coyotes a lead. The Pirates hit another 3-pointer, but Bedejo made two-of-three free throws to tie the game at 13 at the end of the first quarter.

Reedley scored the first 10 points of the second quarter before the Coyotes got the offense going. In the first four minutes of the second quarter, Madera turned the ball over four times and missed six shots and a free throw.

Jazir Alejandre hit a long 3-pointer to start the Coyotes’ second quarter scoring. Bedejo made a layup to cut the lead to five.

However, Reedley scored the next five points to get the lead back to 10.

Bedejo made two free throws, but the Coyotes missed three while Reedley opened a 10-point lead.

Bedejo hit a short jumper and Christian Sanchez made a free throw while the Pirates took a 31-23 lead into the half.

A Reedley bucket opened the lead to nine in the second half, but Bedejo and Saed made buckets to cut the lead down to five.

Reedley hit a 3-pointer, but Martin Corona hit 3-pointer to keep the lead at five.

Gonzalez found Bedjeo for a layup and Gonzalez hit a 10-foot jumper to cut the lead to one during a 7-0 run.

After a Reedley free throw, Alejandre hit another 3-pointer to culminate a 10-1 run to give the Coyotes a 38-37 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Pirates opened the fourth with a 7-0 run. It took almost to midway through the fourth before the Coyotes scored — a 15-foot jumper from Bedejo. After a Reedley layup, Bedejo hit a 3-pointer to cut the Pirates’ lead to 46-43.

Reedley scored the next six points for an eight point lead with 32.6 seconds left in the game. Madera closed the scoring when Saed put back a miss for the 51-45 final.



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