Seniors Jocelyn Fernandez and Danielle Vigil spark St. Michael's girls to District 2-4A win over visiting Pojoaque Valley
Lady Horsemen remain in hunt for second place as Fernandez scores 23 points, Vigil grabs nine rebounds
By ARNIE LESHIN
A must win it was, and the St. Michael's girls delivered.
With one more regular season District 2-4A game to be played Feb. 18 at West Las Vegas, the Lady Horsemen at least kept alive their quest for perhaps a second place by turning back visiting Pojoaque Valley, 49-43, at Shelly-Perez gymnasium.
Now 3-4 in district and 11-12 overall, St. Michael's picked up solid efforts from 5-foot-6 senior wing Jocelyn Fernandez and 6-1 senior post Danielle Vigil in dropped the Elkettes to 3-3 in district and 11-12 overall.
The only problem here, is that if the Lady Horsemen were to catch Pojoaque and West Las Vegas, also 3-3, they would have to down the Dons this time after losing to them, 58-53, at home, and the two will meet at West Las Vegas on Feb. 18 in the regular season finale that will decide the seeds for the district tournament.
Plus, there was also a previous defeat at the Elkettes, who WLV, 16-8 overall, still has to visit Pojoaque Wednesday night and then play at first place Las Vegas Robertson on Feb. 18.
The Cardinals, whose lone district setback was 50-44 at the Lady Horsemen after defeating them twice before, once in the Albuquerque Sandia Prep tournament, have wrapped up a share of the district title at 5-1, and are 19-4 overall after St. Michael's snapped their 8-game win streak.
But Lady Horsemen head coach Martin Romero said that he doesn't talk to his team much about this, referring to the standings.
What he did want to talk about was Fernandez scoring the game-high 23 points, and Vigil making some clutch baskets inside to total seven points and pulling down nine rebounds.
There was also 5-3 senior point guard Monse Camarena combing with Fernandez to convert 6-of-7 foul shots in final minutes. Fernandez tossed in a dozen of her points in the fourth quarter. And St. Michael's 14 turnovers were also five less than its per-game average.
But there were also 11 missed charity tosses, six by Vigil. But Romero said that the niece of former St. Michael's 6-11 center Nick Pino is coming along, adding that every game is an adventure for her.
Leading by as many as seven points in the third quarter, a 7-0 run by Pojoaque tied it, and then briefly took the lead early in the fourth quarter by making good on eight of its nine free throws to go up 38-35 with six minutes left.
It was deadlocked at 43 with one minute remaining when the versatile Fernandez sparked a 6-0 run to seal the game away. She scored on a put back with 54 seconds to go to put her team ahead for good. Camarena added a pair of foul shots, and then there was a layup by Fernandez off a steal with 10 seconds to go.
With the Cardinals looking good on top the standings, the other four teams are separated by one game as they head into the final week before the district tournament and state tournament seedings are announced.
At West Las Vegas Friday night, the Dons routed Taos, 64-31.