Western girls stampede over Tribe in rivalry basketball game

Tulare Western gets their first league win against rival Tulare Union in 45-39 victory

TULARE – Tulare Western took it to their cross-town rival when they welcomed the Tribe to their court on Wednesday, Jan. 26. Points were hard to come by early in game, and Tulare Union played tough defense, but the Mustangs made their shots when it counted and pulled out the 45-39 win.

Although the Mustangs began with the ball Union was ready to come out firing and took a five point lead early. Tulare Union’s Jocelyn Melendez made a sneaky play when she stole the ball from behind Tulare Western’s Avery Starr. Melendez turned her steal into a three-pointer and extended the Tribe’s lead. Things didn’t get much better for the Mustangs through the first eight minutes as they headed into the second quarter down 10-2.

On the heels of an unimpressive first quarter the Mustangs resolved to work harder at put more points on the board. Mustang sophomore Olivia Macahdo took the game into her own hands and added 17 points to her team’s tally. Tulare Union couldn’t quite find their first quarter rhythm and added only four points to their score, giving the Mustangs a 19-14 first half lead.

As the third quarter began, Western and Union played the odds and put up shot after shot. To their credit, each team hit from all over the court. Tulare Western’s Maddie Aguilar and Starr made significant contributions to the team but it wasn’t enough to shut Union out before heading into the fourth quarter. But what they couldn’t finish in the third quarter they were able to finish in the last as they put down any hopes of a Tribe win by polishing off the 45-39 final.

That was Tulare Western’s first win of the season in East Yosemite League play.

“The team had more energy, compared to the last 15 games,” Tulare Western head coach Jeff Denny said. Some of that energy must have carried over to their next game against Delano as they stomped on them in a 58-20 home victory. They hoped to put a third straight win on their record against the Porterville Panthers on Monday, Jan. 31. That final occurred after press time.

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