Slow start hurts Coyotes in loss
Tyler Takeda./The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Lilly Smith shots a 3-pointer during Tuesday’s loss to Sanger. She led the Coyotes with 14 points and hit a pair of 3-pointers.
SANGER — By the time the Madera Coyotes girls basketball team had a chance to take a breath, they found themselves in a 14-3 hole at the end of the first quarter to the Sanger Apaches and couldn’t dig out of it.
The Coyotes battled in the second and fourth quarters, outscoring the Apaches 27-26, however, the other two quarters made the difference in a 56-37 loss Tuesday in Sanger. In the first and third quarters, the Coyotes were outscored 30-10.
“We had multiple opportunities,” head coach Jason Smith said. “We could have cut it to four points early in the second half. We missed two layups and they get a 3-point play. The key for us is developing consistency. If we consistently play the way we’re capable of and consistently finish, we’re a good basketball team. Right now. we need to get over this final hump to get where we want to be, and get over it soon.”
The Coyotes also couldn’t overcome the 30-point game from Sanger’s Krista Schafer. The all-around threat went 16-of-17 from the free throw line, hit two 3-pointers and was a threat on both the offensive and defensive ends.
Lilly Smith led the Coyotes with 14 points. Aaliyah String added 10 points with nine rebounds, six on the offensive glass. Brooke Houghton added eight points with five rebounds.
“I don’t think we got enough calls go our way,” Smith said. “It got physical in there. We had opportunities to get back in it, but we missed shots.”
Sanger jumped out to a 4-0 lead before a Lilly Smith 3-pointer. Schafer answered with a 3-pointer, and added another during a 10-0 run that was extended 12 into the second quarter.
However, the Coyotes started to claw their way back. Smith hit a short jumper and drained another 3-pointer. Rhynne Mitchell made a pair of free throws to cut the lead to six after a 7-0 run.
String hit a short jumper to answer Schafer’s two free throws. After a Sanger layup, String drove the lane for a layup to keep the deficit at six.
Schafer closed the first half scoring with a pair of free throws for a 22-14 lead.
The Coyotes opened the second half by forcing a pair of turnovers, but missed two shots. Then, Schafer put back an offensive rebound, and was fouled. She made the 3-point play for a seven-point turnaround.
String picked up a steal and went in for a layup to cut the lead to seven.
Sanger countered with a six free throws from Schafer in a 13-0 run to extend the lead to 38-16.
The Coyotes countered with five points, all coming by free throws. String hit four and Houghton made one for a 38-21 Sanger lead into the fourth quarter.
Eliana Jaramillo hit a 3-pointer and put back a rebound for a 10-0 run that cut Sanger’s lead to 12.
Smith made a free throw to extend the run to 11. However, Schafer made a layup to get the lead back to 13.
Houghton made a pair of free throws, but Sanger, essentially, closed out the game with a 3-pointer to begin a 6-0 run for a 47-30 lead.
Smith converted a 3-point play, but Schafer answered with a pair of free throws and Sanger made a pair of layups.
Houghton came down with a rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup, but the game was, essentially, over. The layup cut the lead to 18 with a minute left.
Schafer put the exclamation mark on with a layup and Houghton made a free throw for the 56-37 final.