Espanola Valley coach's bold player names puts Albuquerque Academy behind in District 2-5A setback
The "Beast" Alexis Lovato is the main menace with 25 points that included a dominating fourth quarter with the help of the "Princess," Leah DeAguero, both senior
By ARNIE LESHIN
Sticks and stones can break your bones, but names can never harm you, which is why Cindy Roybal harmlessly refers to nicknames for her Espanola Valley girl's basketball team.
The "Beast" is one the long-time head coach tagged on 5-foot-11 senior post Alexis Lovato. Now there's the "Princess", 5-2 sharpshooting senior guard Leah DeAguero.
And these two combined to bring the Sundevils Friday night's 44-28 pay-back victory over visiting Albuquerque Academy to take over first place in 2-5A. In the previous game between the two, the Chargers won at home 44-41 to take the district lead.
"It was the princess Leah and the beast in the fourth quarter," Roybal said. Alexis became our new point guard and Leah (DeAguero) set the picks and went pick and roll with Alexis."
DeAguero is a versatile guard. She can toss in the 3s, dish off the ball, and apply a stout defense. Lovato usually plays inside and knows how to attack the basket, bank in shots, make follow ups, and is one of the best in the state after returning late last season upon recovering from knee surgery.
Meanwhile, Lovato had her way in handling the ball. She found her way to the basket in a new role she obviously felt comfortable in, and scored the game-high 25 points, 16 coming over the last eight minutes. DeAguero, always the team player, added eight points.
"We put Lexi at point guard and just let her go," said Roybal.
Espanola trailed 26-24 after three quarters, then turned a 20-2 run into a victory that put it at 4-1 in district and 15-5 overall. It was also its fourth straight success.
Academy, the newcomer in this district, dropped to 4-2 there and 15-6 overall.
"Our defense was exceptional in the fourth quarter," Roybal said, "we gave up only four points in that quarter. All my team did what they were told."
Tonight, in 2-6A, Santa Fe High is home to Albuquerque Sandia. The Demonettes are 9-12 overall and 2-3 in district, while the Matadors are 15-4 and 3-2.
In 2-5A, Albuquerque Del Norte travels to Los Alamos, which hung a 50-47 defeat on Academy last week and is 6-16 overall and 1-3 in district. The Knights are 11-9 overall and 2-2 in district.
In 2-4A, St. Michael's is home to first place Las Vegas Robertson in an important test for it. The Lady Horsemen are 9-11 overall and are trying to get to .500 for the stretch run. In district they are 1-3. The Cardinals are 18-3, have won eight in a row, and are 4-0 in district.
Then there's Pojoaque Valley playing host to Taos in 2-4A. The Elkettes stand at 10-11 overall and 2-2 in district. The last place Tigers are1-3 in district and all even overall at 11-11.
In 2-3A, Santa Fe Prep has not won in 15 starts as it visits Dulce, which is 2-0 in district and 11-9 overall. Then there's Monte del Sol (4-11, 0-1) playing at Espanola McCurdy (10-9, 1-1).