Lady Hilltoppers beat Artesia, 63-58
The difference between winning and losing for the Los Alamos girls basketball team was the difference between controlling a possession versus valuing it.
The Lady Hilltoppers failed to control possession down the stretch on Friday night against Roswell, but they learned their lesson a night later. Led by 27 points from sophomore post Becca Green, Los Alamos held off the determined Artesia Lady Bulldogs, 63-58, in a nondistrict game Saturday in Griffith Gymnasium.
It was the antithesis of Friday’s 65-64 overtime loss to Roswell. The Lady Hilltoppers led 23-10 after a quarter and 48-39 entering the fourth quarter before the Lady Coyotes outscored them 16-7 to force an extra period.
After controlling the tempo in the first half Saturday that produced a 22-18 lead, Los Alamos (3-6) showed it could play the Lady Bulldogs’ uptempo style. Artesia cut the lead to 40-38 entering the fourth quarter, but Los Alamos outscored the visiting team 23-20. What Lanse Carter, the Lady Hilltoppers head coach, wanted to see after the Roswell loss was his team control the tempo and possessions down the stretch.
“I think our guards’ decision making is getting better,” Carter said. “They’re understanding more how to see their post [players], and then I think our posts are doing a better job of being strong with the ball, looking for each other, understanding when to pass and when to take it on their own.
“That has been a work in progress.”
Alex Calderon, the 5-foot-1 senior guard, was at her best in the fourth quarter. She scored six of her eight points and hit 3 of 4 from the free-throw line to help seal the win. It halted a three-game losing streak.
“We put it all together tonight,” Carter said.
Natalie Gallegos had 11 points to support Green, and Mattie Ruminer added 10.
Pojoaque Valley 54, Grants 31
The Elkettes improved to 6-0 and won the Alice King Invitational, holding the Lady Pirates to just 10 first-half points to take a 23-10 lead. Ashten Martinez capped an MVP weekend with 15 points to lead Pojoaque, while Taylor Roybal earned all-tournament recognition as she scored 13. Also joining the all-tournament team for the Elkettes was Tonni Aquino.
“At times, we looked really good [against Grants],” Pojoaque head coach Seledon Martinez said. “We got to work on our chemistry when we put in different kids. That will come by playing and practicing.”
Santa Fe Prep 27, Monte del Sol 11
The Blue Griffins’ defense toughened in the second half as the Lady Dragons scored just two points and Prep earned its second win.
Kat Bair and Lia Moquino each had seven points to lead the Blue Griffins, while Jennifer Mondragon had five for Monte del Sol.
Pecos 70, Pojoaque Valley 48
The Panthers built a 35-18 lead at the half and were never threatened in a nondistrict game in Louis G. Sanchez Memorial Gymnasium.
Omar Dominguez led Pecos (4-2) with 19 points, while Ismael Villegas added 18 and Anthony Armijo 13. Nathan Valdez, Dante Ortiz and Andrew Garcia each scored nine points for the Elks (3-6).
Roswell 94, Española Valley 87
The Sundevils came off a rough 74-53 loss to Albuquerque Sandia with a disappointing end to the Rio Rancho Cleveland Storm Tournament. The Coyotes overcame a 75-65 deficit entering the fourth quarter to take third place.
“We just were undisciplined in our shot selection,” Española head coach James Branch said. “No excuses. We should have won the game.”
The Sundevils (5-4) built a 48-39 lead at the half and outscored Roswell 27-26 in the third quarter for the double-digit lead.