Girls Basketball: Marauders take down Mustangs in overtime

Monache comes back to force overtime and beat Tulare Western 49-45 in back and forth game

TULARE – The Tulare Western Mustangs ended a difficult season on a seven-game losing streak last week, but their second to last league matchup was one of the most exciting games of the year for its home crowd.

Tulare Western faced-off against the Monache Marauders Feb. 9 in an East Yosemite League matchup. The Mustangs held a close lead for the majority of the game, but the Marauders were able to tie it up in the fourth quarter and seal a 4-point win in overtime.

From start to finish, the game was filled with everything a basketball fan could want, pressure defense, deep shots, clutch free throws ending in a nail-biting overtime. The Mustants won the tip-off but Monache was able to get the ball quickly and score. Despite the quick momentum grabber, Western wasn’t shaken. Despite the Marauders beating the Mustangs on the boards, senior Maddie Aguiar took charge and drilled multiple three-pointers to give Tulare Western a 3-point lead at the half.

Both teams lost steam in the third quarter. Missed put-backs, layups and jumpers, combined with poor passing, led to a combined 11 points in the quarter.

The game started to heat up in the fourth quarter as Monache increased the pressure on defense. The Marauders stifled the Mustangs’ offense but defensive fouls sent Tulare Western players like Jenna Smith to the free throw line often enough to keep the game close. However, Monache’s defense gave them time to catch up and force overtime tied 44-44 at the end of the fourth quarter. 

Monache carried their late-game momentum into overtime. Despite both teams going cold offensively, the Marauders continued to out-rebound and out-hustle Tulare Western. A game-sealing rebound by Monache after a Tulare miss gave them possession with very little time left and a 4-point lead. The Marauders left with a 49-45 victory.

“I’ve told the girls all season that nothing is guaranteed,” Tulare Western head coach Jeff Denney said.

Each team played their last game of the season on Friday Feb. 10. Tulare Western fell to Tulare Union and closed out the season with a 7-20 record. Monache also lost their final game to Porterville and went 8-18 this season. Both teams will look to utilize young talent and take strides next season to move up in league and into the playoffs.

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