Coolidge MBB Defeats Safford on Senior Night: Top 3 Performers

2 years ago Andrew Luberda 0

In the final home game of their high school careers, the Bears’ seniors shined the brightest in a 68 – 60 victory against visiting Safford on Feb. 8.

Point guard Manny Madrid posted a triple-double – 15 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists – and had a game-high six steals.

The Bears entered the game determined to win the rebounding battle in addition to letting their defense spur their offensive production. Coolidge outrebounded Safford (33-32) and had two fewer turnovers than the Bulldogs (13 to 15), which contributed to the win.

Coolidge built a six-point lead (26 – 20) midway through the second quarter with a 9 – 3 run that started on the defensive end. Senior Jovan Thompson scored a game-high 31 points on 11-of-19 shooting, many coming in transition off a defensive play or rebound.

“That was our focus tonight – turnovers and rebounding,” Coolidge head coach Chris Leman told afterwards. “We were getting what we wanted on offense, but we know we can’t trade baskets with teams. We wanted to get back to the defensive side when they made their runs.”

With the win, the Bears ended the regular season with a record of 13 – 13 and await the release of the 2018 State Championship Tournament brackets to determine if their season continues.



Top Three Performers:

The Bears’ seniors. Photo: Kelli Luberda

3.  The Seniors – There are 10 on the team this year, many of them teammates since elementary school. Five players – Thompson, Madrid, Jared Hunt (3), Shamaul Peace (7), and Jordan Hinojos (12) accounted for the 68 points scored in the win. Three more seniors – Sheffield Jordan, Julian Madrid and Andrew Arrendando – contributed to the Bears’ rebounding advantage in the game.

“They’ve been everything,” an emotional Leman said about the group he started coaching at the JV level. “I came in the same time they did, and they’ve been the change in this program. These kids have been through it all – all the battles, the ups and downs. They’ve stuck together through the adversity these last few weeks.”

Jovann Thompson. Photo: Kelli Luberda

2.  Jovann Thompson – A certain first-team All-Region selection, Thompson had 31 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. It was the fifth time this season that Thompson has scored 31 points or more.

Manny Madrid (4). Photo: Kelli Luberda

1.  Manny Madrid – The 6-foot-2 guard is one of the best all-around players in the 3A Central Region, as evidenced by him being in the top 10 of several statistical categories, including rebounds (10th), assists (1st), steals  (8th), and blocks (1st). He was arguably the best player at both ends of the court in the win versus the Bulldogs.

“(Manny) sets the tone for us,” Leman said. “He orchestrates the offense, he rebounds, he sets up his teammates first, and he is a smart kid, so he knows when to score and when to get teammates involved. We would not be the team we are with out him. He’s a special player.”