By James Yodice
Journal Staff Writer
In hindsight, the most obvious thing to say is that Kya DeGarmo had her cake and ate it, too.
Which, technically, was true, but it really was the Eldorado High School girls basketball team on the whole that had cause to celebrate.
DeGarmo, Eldorado’s crackerjack point guard, fought her way through foul trouble and the pesky Rio Grande Ravens on Tuesday night for a game-high 20 points, helping the second-ranked Eagles to a somewhat contentious 63-53 victory — and outright first place in District 5-5A.
” I think there’s animosity (between the teams) ,” said DeGarmo, a 5-foot-1 junior who celebrated her 17th birthday with a party and cake in the lobby after the game. “They are that one team that gives us a hard game every time. We’re like, `Stop doing this to us!'”
Eldorado (18-3 overall, 4-0 in 5-5A) needed a 15-0 run in the second half to finally squelch the upset hopes of the Ravens (14-7, 3-1), who were every bit the Eagles’ equal most of the way.
Just not when it counted most.
“Our strengths against them are making them play some defense. We did that when we had to tonight,” Eldorado coach Mike Huston said. “During that (15-0 run), we got our act together offensively. We took care of the ball and got good shots.”
The game seesawed throughout.
Megan Bass had six early points as Eldorado scored the first eight of the game. The Ravens, behind guards Bernadette Sanchez and Monique Macias, rallied to lead 19-12.
But Eldorado went inside repeatedly in the second quarter, getting to the free-throw line 13 times. The Eagles made all but two and led 31-25 at halftime.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Jocelin Gamboa and Macias forced a frustrated Huston into a timeout midway through the third, and the Ravens led 45-40 with 1:55 left in the quarter.
But Rio Grande then went scoreless over the next 5:47.
In the interim, Eldorado rattled off 15 straight, getting contributions from five players during that run, including six points by Bass. DeGarmo was 6-of-6 from the line down the stretch to seal the win. Then, she got to think about turning 17.
“I feel so old,” DeGarmo said.
For much of the proceedings, it was the visiting Ravens, and especially Sanchez and Macias, that aged Huston.
“They’re hard to match up with. That little point guard (Sanchez), she just kills us,” Huston said.
Macias led the Ravens with 18 points. Sanchez added 16 before fouling out.
Bass had 14 points and was a steadying influence for Eldorado, especially when DeGarmo got her fourth foul midway through the third quarter.
“We pulled it together as a team,” Bass said. “It wasn’t a one-person effort.”
Rio Grande came into the game having won nine of its past 10.
“You can’t close your eyes against them,” Sanchez said. “Not once.”
The teams meet again Feb. 20 at Rio Grande.