ALBUQUERQUE — Espanola Valley almost pulled off the comeback of the girls’ quarterfinal round.
The No. 5-seeded Sundevils (22-8) and their roster of 11 underclassmen closed to within four points of No. 4 Gallup (21-8) after trailing by as many as 25 points only to fall, 73-62, on Tuesday at The Pit.
Espanola Valley struggled early, hitting just 1 of 9 from the first in the opening period to trail 21-4. The Sundevils improved slightly in the second period, connecting on 6 of 23 from the field, but so did the Bengals, as Gallup extended its lead to 35-17 at the break.
The Bengals would go up by as many as 25 points in the third period, before Espanola Valley responded with a 23-4 run, including 16 unanswered points, to close to within 46-40 inside the final two minutes of the third period — and the Sundevils weren’t done just yet. A Kaitlyn Romero with roughly five minutes to play pulled Espanola Valley to within four, at 58-54. But then, they were done.
Gallup responded with a 9-2 run, and outscored the Sundevils 15-8 the rest of the way to seal the win. Gallup will face top-seeded Los Lunas on Thursday, at 1:15 p.m.
Kaitlyn Romero led the Sundevils with 27 points, followed by Alexis Lovato with 11.