The Tigers overcame a 30-point deficit to defeat the Tribe 58-57
WOODLAKE – The Tigers won their home opener last Thursday in an exciting manner. They trailed 42-12 at half time before going on a 32-3 run in the third quarter to get back in the game. Junior Hector Magana scored 28 of his 32 points in the second half to help fuel the Woodlake comeback.
In the first half, Tulare Union found much success scoring inside the paint and their defense was smothering. The Tigers were able to speed up the tempo which helped them get back into the game.
“In the first half we allowed Tulare Union to slow down the ball and they attacked the basket and were successful,” Woodlake head coach Joel Chavez said. “We’re a small team but we are long and fast. Once our guys figured out that they could attack the basket and play good defense, they pulled through.”
After leading 22-9 after the first quarter, the Tribe outscored the Tigers 20-3 in the second. Despite a 30-point deficit, Woodlake looked more comfortable and played smoother coming out of halftime. According to Magana, the team changed their mentality and were more aggressive. Conversely, Tulare Union’s offense disappeared. They seemed out of sync, could not take care of the ball, and missed easy shots.
Woodlake was playing solid defense but the Tribe kept making unforced errors. That allowed the Tigers to run in transition as they continued gaining momentum. They got to the line often and converted a lot of their free throws.
After Woodlake was finally able to go up by one point in the final period, there were several lead changes. Magana then went into takeover mode. With his team trailing by one point, he converted an and-1 to put his team up 2 points. The Tribe tied it up two more times but kept sending Magana to the line who continuously knocked down his free throws. He hit two final game winning free throws with under a minute left as Tulare Union couldn’t convert on their final offensive possession.
“[Magana] is an all-around athlete and a scorer,” said Chavez. “When he figures out that he can attack the basket, he is unstoppable.”
Despite a 19-point loss, Magana scored 29 points in the season opener at Coalinga. That game was just 10 days after Woodlake’s final football game of the season where he caught 7 passes for 67 yards. Over half of the team were football players including Hector’s twin brother Victor and Hector Rodriguez who are all team captains.