Chalk up another impressive early-season victory for the Centennial High girls basketball team.
A week after taking care of Class 4A powerhouse Los Lunas, Class 5A’s sixth-ranked Hawks got 23 points from senior guard Jessica Rios in an impressive 55-39 win at Eldorado on Friday night.
“You know what, this group has been together for a while, so the team chemistry is really strong,” Centennial coach Louie Laborin said. “That’s probably the biggest thing right now.”
A while? Rios said the seven seniors on this team have been playing together since the fourth grade.
“We’ve been together a long time,” she said, smiling.
The teams traded early runs, with Centennial (4-0) scoring the first seven, followed by Eldorado (1-1) scoring the next 11.
The Eagles’ Presley Tyler nailed a 3-pointer midway through the second quarter for a 16-15 Eldorado lead.
By the time the Eagles scored their next points, they were in a big hole (27-16) after Centennial went on a wrap-around 12-0 run that saw Eldorado go scoreless for six game minutes.
While Eldorado climbed within six at 32-26 with 2½ minutes to go in the third quarter, the Hawks, sparked by a baseline 3 from Rios, finished the third quarter with another run and led 41-28 headed to the fourth.
“We had a lot of learning experiences last year,” said the 5-foot-7 Rios. “(It’s about) just handling pressure better, and being better prepared for games. I feel like that’s the biggest thing that’s changed this season. Everyone knows their role, and everyone is trying to be tough and play four quarters of basketball.”
Laney Lucero had 20 points for Eldorado.
The defense of Centennial’s Andreana Armendariz on Eldorado junior guard Cece Barela also was key in the first half, as Barela didn’t score until the third quarter. Armendariz’s defense was crucial in a 53-47 road win at Los Lunas a week ago.
“Any top guard, we put Andi on them,” Rios said. “And she does a hell of a job shutting them down.”
– James Yodice
VOLCANO VISTA 68, VALLEY 54: At Volcano Vista, 5A’s sixth-ranked Hawks (3-0) had a terrific first quarter and led comfortably throughout as they beat the Vikings, Class 4A’s top-ranked team and defending state champion.
Volcano Vista held Valley (1-1) to three opening-quarter points.
“We set a solid defensive tone early, and we played well defensively,” Hawks coach Greg Brown said. “We knew how good Valley is, so we were ready to do our best to defend them.”
Kaden Valdez led Volcano Vista with 16 points. Terrin Dickey and Dion Battle added 14 points apiece as the Hawks closed out an excellent first week, following double-digit victories against La Cueva and Hope Christian.
Volcano Vista plays Clovis on Thursday morning in the Ropening round of the Joe Armijo Classic at Albuquerque Academy.
ELDORADO 60, CENTENNIAL 47: At Eldorado, junior guard Devin Domina-Lovato and senior forwards Deraje Agbaosi and Jayvon Jefferson combined for all but eight of the eighth-ranked Eagles’ points in their win over the visiting Hawks (1-2).
Eldorado (2-0) scored the first seven points of the second quarter to take a 20-13 lead and Centennial was never closer than five the rest of the way. The Eagles also ended the first half with a 6-0 run, including a steal and a layup by Jacob Riach at the buzzer for a 30-19 lead.
The Eagles extended to a 20-point lead (43-23) midway through the third quarter after Agbaosi’s three-point play.
Domina-Lovato had 20 points, Agbaosi 17 and Jefferson 15 for Eldorado.