Cold shooting costs Mustangs

The Minarets girls basketball team (5-3) was hot and cold last week - setting a school single game scoring record against Tranquility (71-19), and then making just three of 17 shots in the fourth quarter in a 48-44 loss to Coalinga.

Against Tranquility, the Mustangs jumped out to a 24-7 first quarter lead against the Tigers, finishing the night with 43 rebounds, 24 steals, and 16 assists.

Coach Dee Kamalani emptied the bench as all Mustangs took part in the win. Senior Daniellle Johnson led all scorers with 28 points, Center Kristy Berry had 16, Patrichia Thomasian 14, Kelea Kamalani eight, Natalie Chamberlain three, and Delaney Reardon two. Most impressive was the Mustangs 16 assists, as the squad played ‘team’ basketball.

Up next for the high-flying Mustangs was the Madera Invitational, Dec. 16-19. The tournament included Kerman, Fresno High, Firebaugh, Coalinga, Mendota, Madera South, Minarets, and host Madera. The Mustangs entered the tournament undefeated, coming off their first championship win in the Fowler Invittional.

In game one, the Mustangs faced Fresno High (9-2). The D-III Warriors played for the CIF Sectional title last year, losing 53-50 to Mission Oaks, going 24-6 on the season.

Coach Kamalani's girls shocked Fresno High, jumping out to a 12-8 lead in the first period, but it didn't take Coach Daniel Avila's team long to get back on track as they outscored the Mustangs in the second period to take a 26-22 lead into the break. Tough play in the paint was the difference as the Warriors pulled away in the third quarter, outrebounding the Mustangs 2-1 in the decisive period, extending their lead 42-32.

The Mustangs battled to the end, hitting two 3-pointers to make a run late. Costly turnovers ended any chance of a come-from-behind win as the Mustangs suffered their first loss 55-46.

Game two was a rematch against Madera South, after the Mustangs defeated the Stallions 47-43 in the championship game in Fowler. Madera South took the court focused on revenge and it was sweet, as the Stallions gave Minarets their second loss on the year, 48-40. Minarets was cold shooting against the Stallions, going 2-13 in the fourth period.

The Mustangs rebounded well from the loss in game three, facing the 4-6 Firebaugh Eagles. Minarets jumped out to a 22-7 lead and never looked back as the Mustangs won 45-28 to get back in the win column.

The Mustangs ended the tournament with yet another close loss against the Coalinga Horned Toads, 7-5 on the season. In a see-saw battle the teams exchanged baskets throughout the game. Though it was anybody’s game, the Mustangs lost again 48-44. Minarets was 5-10 at the freethrow line, missing the second shot four times after making the front end of a one and one. The two teams battled to the end with the Horned Toads outscoring Minarets in the fourth quarter, 13-10 to seal the win.

The Mustangs were 3-17 shooting in the final period.

Minarets is scheduled to play at 3 p.m. Dec. 28 in Mariposa.