Shorthanded, and playing without a day of rest, the Minarets boys basketball team went on a 5 game skid last week, starting with Mariposa and ending with Caruthers in the Madera South Tournament.
Coming off a home loss to the Grizzlies and without their guard EG Walden, the Mustangs would begin the tournament against the Chowchilla Tribe.
After a great start, the Mustangs executed Coach Pitino’s offense well, and had a 20-19 lead after the first quarter. During the second period however, Chowchilla’s Ryan Hickman fired back with four 3-pointers to regain the lead and pull away from the Mustangs.
Led by Preston Conti and Zack Redman, the Mustangs would hold their ground with the Tribe in both the third and fourth quarters, however, the 15 point difference could not be overcome with Chowchilla getting the 81-66 win.
Conti and Redman led the team, both having double-double performances. Conti with 26 points and 10 rebounds, and Redman with 25 points and an impressive 19 rebounds. Redman also made 8 of 12 free throws in the second half of the game.
“Playing short handed and on limited rest, the team played with a lot of heart,” Head Coach Anthony Pitino said. “I’m seeing our players becoming more confident with the offense, we just need to be 100% nt healthy and play to our full potential.”
Gage Sandoval ended up with 6 points, 6 assists and 5 steals, while Christian Varner had 6 points, and Jaimin Zuber grabbed 6 rebounds.
77-28 loss to Madera South
The Mustangs would then face top-seeded Madera South that was much larger and faster. While scoring 7 in the first quarter, and with the Mustangs in the lead, Conti, having to play Center, was matched up against the 6-foot-4, 265 pound senior Kingsley Thomas. Conti sustained a lower back injury in the game. Madera South would be too much for the Mustangs to handle from that point losing 77-28. EG Walden ended up leading the team in scoring with 8 points and 11 rebounds.
On the third day of the tournament, the Mustangs lost to the Sierra Chieftains 66-42 with Walden again leading Minarets with 21 points and 8 rebounds. Sandoval added 4 points and 7 rebounds, and Tyson Ellis with 4 points and 4 rebounds.
The Mustangs would end the tournament with a loss to their division rival Caruthers Blue Raiders, 43-29.
Walden was named to the All Tournament team for the Mustangs.
Minarets High School Correspondent