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Girls prep hoops: La Cueva ends West Mesa’s Metro reign

La Cueva’s Teona Savic (25) puts up a shot for two of her 12 points against West Mesa in the Albuquerque Metro Championships title game on Saturday. La Cueva won, 68-58, at Albuquerque High. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

There was a punch, by La Cueva. There was a sharp counterpunch, by West Mesa.

And then, finally, a definitive counter by the Bears.

La Cueva’s second-seeded girls basketball team endured some extreme ups and downs, but finally put an end to the Mustangs’ recent dominance at the Albuquerque Metro Championships, as a 13-0 run to close the third quarter propelled the Bears to a 68-58 victory on Saturday night at Albuquerque High.

“We’re super competitive, and we’ve been talking about this since the beginning of the season, how bad we wanted this, this metro title,” said La Cueva sophomore guard Jerzie Jones, who scored 14 points.

West Mesa’s Jazmin Cordova goes to the hoop between La Cueva’s Carolina Romero (3) and Kaya Ingram. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

A compelling final swung back and forth in dramatic ways.

The Bears (11-1 and winners of 11 in a row) opened the game on a 17-1 run — but that lead didn’t even survive until halftime, what with No. 4-seeded West Mesa (8-3) regrouping impressively to take a 36-32 edge.

Later, with West Mesa in control 46-40 and flustering the Bears with a pesky zone defense, La Cueva rattled off the final 13 points of the third quarter, held the Mustangs scoreless for five crucial minutes and, when given a second chance to protect a lead, was up to the challenge.

“We just got a lot of energy in the locker room (at halftime), and we needed to bring all our stuff back and turn it around,” said senior guard Kaya Ingram, who led the Bears with 18 points.

West Mesa was forced into eight turnovers in the final four minutes of the third quarter, many of them biting the Mustangs at the other end.

For much of this, La Cueva coach Robert Perea credited sophomore guard Erica Ihlein and her defense on West Mesa’s standout senior, Emily Burk. Several guards, including Jones and Rylie Ottmann, were in some foul difficulty, so Ihlein’s minutes were hugely important.

“She flustered Burk, I think, and just used all her energy and got them out of the rhythm that they were in,” Perea said. “She put faith back in our defense, if you will. She gave us the spark we needed.”

At 53-49 for La Cueva, the Bears went on a 7-0 run, with Ingram’s straightaway 3 the key basket. West Mesa was spent.

Still, the Mustangs put up a valiant effort in their attempt to four-peat at metros.

“I think we consumed a lot of energy (coming back),” West Mesa coach Manny Otero said. “We kind of wore down in the third and fourth quarters.”

Jazmin Cordova’s 21 points were team-best for West Mesa. Burk finished with 11, but was scoreless in the second half.

These District 2-5A rivals will meet next on Feb. 4 at La Cueva.

No. 2 LA CUEVA 68, No. 4 WEST MESA 58

WEST MESA (8-3): Monique Jackson 14, Asset Drane 4, Alicia Varoz 6, Emily Burk 11, Jazmin Cordova 21, Crystal Aspaas 2. Totals 19 13-20 58.

LA CUEVA (11-1): Rylie Ottmann 6, Jerzie Jones 14, Emma Cook 2, Carolina Romero 11, Kaya Ingram 18, Saige Garnand-Gomez 5, Teona Savic 12. Totals 22 18-30 68.

West Mesa 17 19 10 12 — 58

La Cueva 26 6 21 15 — 68

3-point goals: WM 7 (Cordova 2, Burk 2, Varoz 2, Jackson); LC 6 (Romero 3, Ingram, Garnand-Gomez, Jones). Total fouls: WM 20; LC 21. Fouled out: LC, Jones. Technical: WM, Jackson.

METRO TOURNAMENT

Girls

First round

Tuesday

No. 1 Volcano Vista 66, No. 16 Rio Grande 19

No. 9 Abq. High 55, No. 8 Eldorado 48 (OT)

No. 5 Cibola 69, No. 12 Valley 42

No. 4 West Mesa 51, No. 13 Atrisco Heritage 39

No. 3 Sandia 45, No. 14 Manzano 38

No. 6 Cleveland 54, No. 11 Hope Christian 53

No. 10 Rio Rancho 34, No. 7 Highland 33

No. 2 La Cueva 64, No. 15 Del Norte 37

Wednesday

Quarterfinals

Volcano Vista 63, Abq. High 45

West Mesa 54, Cibola 42

Sandia 66, Cleveland 38

La Cueva 60, Rio Rancho 37

Consolation bracket

Eldorado d. Rio Grande, no score reported

Atrisco Heritage 61, Valley 57

Manzano 49, Hope Christian 38

Highland 63, Del Norte 30

Friday

Semifinals

West Mesa 59, Volcano Vista 47

La Cueva 74, Sandia 53

Consolation

Hope Christian 59, Del Norte 48

Cibola 67, Albuquerque High 45

Rio Rancho 45, Cleveland 39

Valley d. Rio Grande, no score reported

Eldorado 50, Atrisco Heritage 28

Highland 65, Manzano 55

Saturday

At Albuquerque High

Championship: La Cueva 68, West Mesa 58

Third-place: Volcano Vista 53, Sandia 42

At Del Norte

13th-place: Hope Christian 69, Valley 58

Fifth-place: Cibola 43, Rio Rancho 24

Seventh-place: Cleveland 57, Albuquerque High 45

At Rio Grande

Ninth-place: Highland 55, Eldorado 50

11th-place: Manzano d. Atrisco Heritage, no score reported

15th-place: Rio Grande vs. Del Norte, no score reported

ALL GIRLS SCORES

Animas 46, Cliff 45

Capital 43, Taos 21

Carlsbad 34, Portales 29

Carrizozo 29, Academy for Technology and The Classics 28

Cibola 43, Rio Rancho 24

Cleveland 57, Albuquerque High 45

Clovis 55, Amarillo Caprock, Texas 48

Clovis Christian 44, San Jon/Grady 29

Cottonwood Classical 38, Capitan 31

Escalante 49, Maxwell 42

Farmington 73, Tohatchi 53

Fort Sumner 44, Texico 27

Gallup 63, Pojoaque 40

Gateway Christian 57, Jal 26

Goddard 74, Chaparral 27

Highland 55, Eldorado 50

Hope Christian 69, Valley 58

Jemez Valley 52, Walatowa Charter 46

Kirtland Central 56, Espanola Valley 44

La Cueva 68, West Mesa 58

Los Lunas 84, Roswell 17

Mora 42, Wingate 40

Mountainair 55, Monte del Sol 17

Questa 49, Antonito, Colo. 20

Rehoboth 56, Navajo Prep 52

Santa Fe Indian 64, Newcomb 54

Santa Rosa 54, Bosque School 36

Silver 54, Tularosa 45

Socorro 38, Crownpoint 32

Volcano Vista 53, Sandia 42

Zuni 59, Hatch Valley 56

GIRLS SUMMARIES

LOS LUNAS 84, ROSWELL 17

Roswell 4 5 7 1—17

Los Lunas 27 26 22 9—84

Leading scorers: Makenzie Parin 5; LL, Dani Ross 21, Feleena Gabaldon 15, Natalie Jojola 14, Klarissa Hall 12, Mia Guest 10. Team fouls: R 10, LL 13.

CLEVELAND 57, ABQ. HIGH 45

ABQ. HIGH: MC Curtis 3, Briana Cole 21, Lelanie Love 7, Tiara Pendleton 12, Vanessa Baca 2. Totals: 16-FG, 7-11-FT 45.

CLEVELAND (11-5): Hannah Lammens 1, Shawntae Salazar 12, Angelique Abeyta 3, Alexa Madueno 3, Isabella Goss 1, Isabelle Valdez 4, Jordan Barnard 6, Vanessa Rendon 18, Skyla Lillard 3, Allyson Frank 6. Totals: 19-FG, 15-22-FT 57.

Abq. High 9 6 16 14—45

Cleveland 19 13 17 8—57

3-pointers: A 6 (Curtis, Cole 5), C 4 (Salazar 2, Madueno, Rendon). Team fouls: A 20, C 13. Fouled out: A, Love. Tech.: A, bench.

CAPITAL 43, TAOS 21

Taos 5 0 6 10—21

Capital 12 2 14 15—43

Leading scorers: Dahnyell Martinez 6; C, Rebecca Sorensen 13. Team fouls: T 15, C 18. Fouled out: T, Martinez. Rec.: C 5-9.

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