Key win in District 2-4A Saturday night as St. Michael's girls end first place Las Vegas Robertson's 8-game win streak
In 2-6A at Albuquerque Sandia, Santa Fe High shows improvement in Saturday night setback
By ARNIE LESHIN
It wasn't good that St. Michael's girls could score only a pair of baskets in the second half, especially against the red-hot Las Vegas Robertson visitors, but all ended well in a key District 2-4A basketball game Saturday night at Perez-Shelly gymnasium.
Not only did the Lady Horsemen manage to put a stop to the first place Cardinals' 8-game win streak, but the 50-44 win put them at 2-3 in district and 10-11 overall as the stretch run comes into play. St. Michael's is looking to finish well in district and gain a decent seeding for the state tournament.
Despite the lack of points from the field over the last two quarters, it was still a gritty effort for the home team. It converted 22-of-32 free throws in the second half and committed only five turnovers over the last eight minutes in dropping Robertson to 18-4 overall and 4-1 in district.
"We came into this game and the week preparing for the way we would have to play defense," said Lady Horsemen head coach Martin Romero, "I think we've let too many games slip away. We were determined it wasn't going to happen again at home."
He was happy for the few turnovers his team made late in the game, and that it took care of the ball down the stretch. And no doubt he was happy that senior Jocelyn Fernandez led the way with 18 points.
It was a hectic fourth quarter against a taller Cardinal lineup. Holding on to a small lead with five minutes left, 8th grader Maria Barela's layup pulled Robertson within 41-39. Then the teams traded foul shots to keep St. Michael's on top at 43-41 with two minutes remaining.
Lady Horsemen senior guard Monse Camarena next made good on three of four charity tosses to up the lead to 46-41 with the clocking showing 1:34.
And after the Cards' Gabby Trujillo converted 1-of-2 free throws, St. Michael's senior forward Jodi Gromley was fouled and tossed in both of her attempts with 48.9 seconds left for a 48-40 advantage.
But Robertson still hung around. A layup by 6-foot senior post Angelica Montoya cut the gap to 48-44, but Fernandez then showed her versatility by all but dribbling out the clock before tossing in a pair of foul shots with 8.9 to go.
"They were phenomenal," Romero said in regard to his team. "We were due for a game like this where we made out free throws and took care of the ball the way we needed to. We preserved."
Fernandez, meanwhile, was playing with four personal fouls, but kept her composure, and on two possessions dribbled around the Cardinals to take more than a minute off the clock. With 1:37 to go and exhausted, she came to the bench and told Romero that those 30-second runs were like suicides.
The Lady Horsemen broke out to a 10-0 lead and fought off a series of rallies by Robertson. Then held a 24-18 lead at halftime. The closest the Cards would come in the third quarter was at 31-30, but St. Michael's then closed with a 6-1 run.
Gormley finished with 11 points and Camarena added nine. Next stop for the Lady Horsemen is a visit to last place Taos Tuesday night. As for Robertson, it plays next at home Wednesday night with a visit from cross-town rival West Las Vegas.
In 2-6A at Albuquerque Sandia, Santa Fe High showed much improvement after the Matadors handed it a dominating defeat in the previous meeting.
This time, the end result was 68-58, but the Demonettes trailed only 28-26 at the half and even took a 41-40 lead midway through the third quarter.
But Sandia, 16-4 overall and 4-2 in district, went on a 12-1 run to close the third quarter and grab a 52-42 lead. Its size enabled it to take control inside by taking down offensive rebounds and converting them into baskets or foul shots.
In the fourth quarter, Santa Fe High managed to get within eight points, but the Matadors always had an answer. They were led by Cara Liggins' game-high 23 points and Sapirah Broussard added 17.
For the Demonettes, who dropped to 9-13 overall and 2-4 in district, junior wing Adonica Baca Martinez was their top scorer with 19 points, and senior post Elena Gonzales contributed 16.
From the foul line, Santa Fe High made good on 10-of-19 tries and Sandia was 8-for-18.
In 2-4A at Pojoaque Valley, the Elkettes rolled over Taos, 55-40, by making good on 3s, mid-range jumpers and close-range shots. They were in front 20-12 after one quarter and increased it to 41-17 at halftime to avenge the previous loss of 45-42 at the Tigers on junior guard Aaliyh Quintana's last-second 3.
This time, Quintana led her team with 17 points, but the balance of Pojoaque offset that, with freshman Ashten Martinez scoring the game-high 18 points, Dallas Archibald adding 13, and Kalel Windham 10. The Elkettes improved to 11-11 overall and 3-2 in district. Last place Taos fell to 1-4 in district and 11-12 overall.
In 2-5A at Los Alamos, Albuquerque Del Norte won handily at 60-28 to advance to 3-2 in district and 12-9 overall. The Knights went on top 15-7 after one quarter and upped it to 31-17 at halftime. Outscored by the Hilltoppers, 7-5, in the third quarter, the visitors took over in the fourth quarter, 14-4.
Los Alamos dropped to 6-16 overall and 1-4 in district. It converted 8-of-10 free throws, while the Knights were 10-for-15.