The Minarets Mustangs girls basketball squad (3-7) played in The Parlier Invitational Dec. 9-11, and opened the tourney with a 39-15 win over Parlier (0-7). Sophomore Kelea Kamalani lead all scorers with 10 points fellow sophomore Danielle Johnson followed with eight, Madison Pearson added seven points, including a 3-pointer, and Patricia Thomsian added six.
The young team, which has just two seniors and one junior on the roster, pulled down 32 rebounds in the game. The Mustangs defense held Parlier to nine points in the first half and six points in the second half.
In round two of the tournament, the McFarland Cougars (10-4) turned the table on the Mustangs, holding them to single digit scoring in each of the four periods and soundly defeating the Mustangs 57-21. The Cougars scored 16 in the first quarter, just five less than the Mustangs scored in the whole game. The Mustangs had 32 turnovers in the contest and held the Mustangs to just 13% shooting from the field.
Coach Johnny Samaniego's seasoned team, featuring five starting seniors, won the East Sierra League title last year and is favored to win it again this year.
The Mustangs final tournament game was against the Firebaugh Eagles (3-9).
Both teams lost by just four points to Washington Union earlier in the season but Firebaugh, with the help of 32 Mustang turnovers, ran away with a 56-37 win. Firebaugh committed few fouls, with the Mustangs going to the line only twice in the game.
Down 25-12 at the half, the Mustangs came out and had their best period of the game scoring 14 in the third, but the Eagles had the game in hand by the final period, leading 44-26.
Senior Ericka Ward led Minarets in scoring with 10 points, Johnson added eight, Kamalani seven, Thomsian and freshman Kisten Berry had four points each, while Pearson and Madison Mead each scored two.
The Mustangs play the Immanual Eagles (5-4) Jan. 17. Last years 21-8 Eagles destroyed the Mustangs 45-4. Playing with a team of primarily freshman, Minarets was over matched against an Eagles team that sent two players to play for D-1 college teams. The Eagles are heavily favored, with a roster of 14 featuring six seniors, but the Mustangs should give them a much better game than last season.
Jan. 18 the Mustangs will travel to Mariposa to play the the Grizzles (4-9). The two teams look similar on paper, both averaging 40 points a game, with the Grizzles out-rebounding the Mustangs by four. Minarets averages 13 steals per game, with the Grizzles recording seven.
Minarets will have to shut down Mariposa's Shea Williams, the Grizzles senior team captain leads the team in scoring (22 points a game average), rebounds, and shooting percentage (43%). She is the only Mariposa player averaging more than five points a game.