The south wall of Madera South’s gymnasium is decorated with Central Section banners in purple, mainly, to the left, eight consecutive in boys cross country from 2008-15. And they’ve yet to hang the ninth earned last fall.
Four additional section-winning banners are seen to the right, representing female sports in volleyball in soccer (two), volleyball (one) and cross country (one).
The west-side wall finds, among others, an empty boys basketball banner. No league or section championships for a school still in its adolescence. It opened with freshmen and sophomores in 2006.
But the feel of the Stallions’ 10-year boys basketball program may have experienced a defining moment Friday night in arguably its most meaningful win – ever.
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Madera South, with two late 3-pointers from a senior with a textbook release, Hassan Bolden, won 52-47 at home against a Sanger team not only ranked No. 7 overall in the section and No. 1 in Division III by The Bee but coming off a 70-66 County/Metro Athletic Conference road conquest of then-overall No. 2 Memorial.
21 Points by Madera South senior Hassan Bolden in win over No. 7-ranked Sanger
Memorial has two players, maybe three, who will likely advance to the major-college level – freshman Jalen Green the lock.
Sanger has none for basketball, at least.
But there’s something to be said about what Apaches coach Al Alvarado is doing with a 14-5 team in a program that went 20-84 in the CMAC and 105-200 overall in the previous 11 years, according to section historian Bob Barnett.
And there was a lot to be said Friday night about Aaron Mosby, a defensive back star for Sanger’s section Division II champion football team and a major-college prospect in that sport, who has clearly found his basketball legs.
The senior forward scored 13 points in the third quarter, including a four-point play on a 3-pointer and free throw, willing the Apaches from a 12-point deficit to one entering the fourth.
Mosby’s three-point play on a drive and free throw gave Sanger a 46-44 lead with 1:38 remaining.
But from there Bolden swished his 3s to punctuate a 21-point night and David Thomas made two free throws to close it out for the 15-5 Stallions, who are ranked No. 2 behind three-time defending section champion Immanuel in D-IV.
Hopefully, the experience we’re going through in league right now will help us come playoff time.
Coach Jody Sharp of Division IV Madera South
Bolden, Thomas, 5-7 point guard Junior Segura, who made two 3-pointers for a 21-10 second-quarter lead, and senior center Jonah Johnson, the school’s three-year quarterback who was outstanding defensively against Sanger, are among seven Stallions who have played together in school and/or recreation leagues for eight years.
“And we’ve played in adult leagues so we’re used to the competition and being physical,” Bolden says. “We’re very familiar with each other and play together.”
Madera South nine-year coach Jody Sharp made this clear: A CMAC title against the likes of D-I opposition Edison and Bullard, D-II Memorial and D-III Sanger is not the realistic goal, rather, it is a D-IV championship appearance at noon March 4 at Selland Arena.
And this isn’t to suggest the Stallions can’t play with the big boys.
Friday’s win came two days after they lost 62-60 in overtime to No. 8 Edison at the same site. And they also played respectably in losses to additional D-I foes in Buchanan, Centennial and West Bakersfield.
“Hopefully, the experience we’re going through in league right now will help us come playoff time,” Sharp says a year after successfully petitioning the section’s administration to lower the program from D-III to D-IV.
“We’re not D-I, we’re not D-II, we’re not D-III,” he says. “We won one D-III playoff game since I’ve been here. We’re where we belong in D-IV to give our kids the opportunity to advance in the playoffs and experience that.”
Madera South 52, Sanger 47
S (14-5, 2-1 CMAC): Jalen Cropper 1, Cameron Stanley 4, Ronan Feigel 5, Aaron Mosby 17, Rafael Cerda 2, Scorpio Purnell 3, Isaiah Rodriguez 6, Jeremy Gonzales 2, Izaiah Cole 7.
MS (15-5, 2-1): Junior Segura 7, Hassan Bolden 21, Kedreion Dickson 1, Jonah Johnson 6, Hakeem Primes 9, David Thomas 8.