In a revenge game against Orosi High School (3-3) Dec. 7th, the Minarets Mustangs (2-4) answered an early season loss in the Golden Bear Classic Tournament to the Cardinals by beating Orosi 72-63 on their home court. It was the Mustangs’ most offensive showing on the year, with three players scoring in double figures.
The Mustangs have struggled finding their rhythm early on in games, but not this time, as they jumped out to a 13-7 lead in the first quarter, holding on to a 28-21 lead going into halftime.
The Cardinals took the court with a vengeance from the opening of the third period, outscoring the Mustangs 26-17 going into the final period leading 47-45.
Mason Ellis was named the MaxPreps "Player of the Game.”
The senior led all scorers with 28 points on the game, but just as impressive was his presence on the boards. Ellis made a difference with 31 rebounds in the contest, 12 on the offensive side of the ball, while hauling down another 19 playing defense.
The Mustangs went on to dominate the fourth quarter. The team had 55 rebounds against the Cardinals, and pulled away in the final period for the 72-63 win.
Building on his points per game, Caanine Fausone scored 19 points with Christian Conti scoring 10. It was a team win as all the Mustangs contributed to the score.
Luke Pritchett added four points, James Backmann hit one from outside the arc for three points, while Dwayne Hale, and Micah Mosier had two points each. Jared Varner added a free throw to complete the Mustangs’ scoring.
The Mustangs traveled to Woodlake for the non conference game against the 3-3 Tigers Dec. 8th. Things didn't fair as well for the Mustangs as the Tigers beat them 54-48 to drop their record to 2-4. Stats were not available at press time.
Minarets will play their first home game this week against Tranquillity. The Tigers, led by Coach Johnny Gonzales are 3-2 coming in, averaging 66 points per game compared to 53 per contest for Minarets. Defense is the Tigers stronghold, surrendering just 41 points per game, Ellis and company will need to control the boards if they are to have a chance.
Minarets will play in the Annual Hawk Invitational this week in the Madera Ranchos. The tournament starts today, with Liberty hosting Minarets, Tranquillity, Dos Palos, Firebaugh, and Yosemite in the six team tourney.
The Mustangs will open against the same Tranquillity team in the opening round. In the second round of play Friday, Dec. 18th, the Mustangs will play Dos Palos, tip off scheduled for 3:00 p.m. The Broncos are 1-4 on the season, averaging just 28 points a game, while surrounding 50 points a game.
The Mustangs third match up should bring a nice crowd to the Hawks home court. Minarets will face Yosemite in the third round to be played on Saturday Dec. 19th. The game is referred to as a rivalry game on MaxPreps. Since 2011, the first contest between the schools, according to MaxPreps, Minarets holds a 6-4 advantage in head to head contest of all sports, with one tie recorded.
You can throw away logical reasoning in the matchup. The Badgers come into play this week averaging 60 points a game, while surrendering 55. Minarets enters the week scoring 54 points a contest, giving up 60 points a game. On paper, the Badgers hold the edge, but once the ball drops, anything could happen. Expect a high energy, hard played game against these two teams.
Where Ellis and Kaleb Fausone are responsible for most of the Mustangs scoring, the Badgers do a nice job dishing out the points. Kade Cross is the Badgers leading scorer, averaging 14 points a game, Tristen Eames is averaging 13.7, while brother Cannon follows with 10.4, and Peter McLean is averaging nine.
It should be a spirited contest with 6-foot-7 Cross, battling 6-foot-4 Ellis. Fausone and Tristan Eames should entertain the fans as well. Ellis is averaging 20 points per game, with Fausone scoring 9. The Badgers and Mustangs match up on paper very nice. Ball handing, turnovers and heart will be the difference in this tight match up.
It will no doubt have fans leaving the gym thinking how good a team the two clubs would have, combined.
Hopefully the fans will be able to enjoy head to head competition from these two rivals in every sport. Football is on the schedule for next year as well as the return of youth football at Minarets.
The teams tip off at 11:30 a.m., with the closing round being played in the afternoon according to win-loss records. The fourth round tips off at 2:30 p.m., consolation game at 4:00, with the Championship game tipping off at 5:30.