Shorthanded Coyotes fall to Chieftains
Benny Munoz/The Madera Tribune
Madera freshman Aaliyah String goes up for two of her seven points in Tuesday’s loss.
The Madera Coyotes girls basketball team probably would have liked a better outcome for its home opener, but head coach Jason Smith is hoping good things come from a 59-29 loss Tuesday to the Sierra-Tollhouse Chieftains.
“If tonight is the starting point and we grow from here, there’s going to be good things that’s going to happen,” Smith said. “Look at our freshman, Aaliyah String, especially in the first quarter. She attacked the rim well and finished.”
The Chieftains got off to a hot start, outscoring Madera 23-9 in the first quarter and cruised from there.
“We struggled with their press, but it was only for a short time,” Smith said. “We went into our press break like we’re supposed to. We started executing things we practiced and started getting layups and they had to get out of it.”
In addition, Sierra hit eight 3-pointers in the game while Madera was one-of-17 from beyond the arc (6 percent).
However, there were signs of life from the Coyotes, who were limited to just seven players because of a variety of reasons. Freshman String scored seven points with six rebounds while playing most of the game in foul trouble.
Jasmine Levy pulled down 11 rebounds with six on the offensive glass. Mayeli Hill scored five points to go with six rebounds and five steals.
“Jasmine Levy was aggressive in the first half going after the boards,” Smith said. “We just have to maintain it for the whole game. We have to get healthy.”
Rhynne Mitchell led all scorers with 16 points to go with seven rebounds.
“I’m proud of all the kids that got into the game tonight,” Smith said. “By the end of the year, we’ll be able to face that team again. There’s no such thing as a morale win, but we played hard and they did what we asked them to do.”
Sierra opened the game by scoring the first seven points and 12 of the first 14 points.
Madera only scored on free throws and got its first field goal with a String layup off an assist by Mitchell more than five minutes into the game. Hill later found String for another layup to cut the Sierra lead to 17-7.
Sierra closed the first quarter by scoring six of the next eight points for a 14-point lead.
After a couple of Mitchell layups, Sierra scored seven straight points while the Coyotes committed four turnovers and missed seven shots to extend to a 32-11 lead.
Hill finally stopped the run with a 3-pointer with less than a minute left in the half.
Sierra opened the second half by outscoring Madera 8-2 with a pair of 3-pointers. Mitchell’s offensive setback was Madera’s lone points of the run.
Hill put back a missed shot and String hit a short jumper to cut the lead to 22. Sierra closed out the third quarter with a 9-0 run for a 51-20 lead.
With the threat of a 40-point running clock, the Coyotes stepped up their play. Mitchell scored the first four points of the quarter.
However, Sierra scored the next eight for a 35-point lead.
Madera finished the game playing well by scoring the final five points of the game — all by Mitchell. After she made a free throw, Mitchell picked up a steal and turned it into a layup. She later pulled down a rebound and went coast-to-coast for another layup for the 59-29 final.