Gutierrez scores 29 in win over ?Dogs
Although she was en fuego from 3-point range, senior guard Laura Gutierrez, left, bears down on defense against an inbounds pass Thursday.Gary Herron photo/Observer
Rio Rancho High School senior guard Laura Gutierrez seemingly didn’t mind missing her first four shots lofted from behind the arc Thursday afternoon.
She proceeded to hit her next five tries ? and sank three free throws awarded when she was fouled late in the first half on another try ? en route to a game-high 29 in the Rams’ 59-43 rout of Albuquerque High in a first-round game of the annual Rio Rancho Girls Basketball Invitational in the RAC.
She wound up sinking eight treys and had not coach Scott Peterson rested her so much, she might have overtaken the girls’ school record for points in a game, 35, set by Brio Rode on Dec. 7, 2001, also in a girls’ tournament game here.
Gutierrez, verbally committed to play at Texas A&M International after graduation in May, put on a shooting exhibition in the second quarter, when she scored all 13 of the Rams’ points ? four 3s and sinking three free throws after being fouled behind the arc with 2.0 seconds left before halftime.
It should be noted she out-scored the Bulldogs’ starting five, who combined for 14.
The decisive third period put the game in the bag for the Rams: A 13-2 advantage left the ?Dogs in the dust, with Gutierrez canning two more treys. That’s when the Rams pulled away from what had been a 32-28 edge at intermission and built their lead to 45-30 heading into the final period; AHS could get no closer than 12 the rest of the way.
Julia Chavez, with 10 points, joined Gutierrez in double-figure scoring.
A key was free-throw shooting: AHS was 4-of-9 at the line, while the Rams were 17-of-24, a 13-point difference.
“I’ll say this: Being off a week is tough ? it’s hard to get into a rhythm,” Peterson said. “We’re still trying to find a flow on offense and we’re still trying to make things work for our team. I thought we moved the ball better today; I thought we got better shots today.
“I really want to develop our bench,” he added, which he did: The Rams got 12 points off the bench, and two starters ? Hannah Dietz and Kaylee Dons ? were scoreless.
“Every game we continue to grow and get better,” he said.
Rams 59, Belen 30: Chavez had 23 points and Gutierrez added 9 as the Rams moved into the championship fgame vs. Centennial, played Saturday evening.
The Hawks lost the 2016 championship game here to Roswell, 57-53; the Rams beat Mayfield, 72-52, in last year’s title tilt.
RAMifications: The Rams have three games this week, each starting at 7: Santa Fe visits the RAC Wednesday, La Cueva is here Fr iday and the Rams visit Farmington on Saturday.