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Prep girls state basketball: Volcano Vista wins easily, Los Lunas in 2 OTs

Class 5A GIRLS (with bracket)

Volcano Vista’s romp through the abbreviated winter sports season continued in the Class 5A girls’ basketball semifinals Tuesday night.

The Hawks remained unbeaten on the season, and rolled into the semifinals routing La Cueva, 58-24.

State title runners-up a season ago, Volcano Vista (11-0) finds itself two games away from rectifying that disappointment.

“You know, it’s May madness right now,” said Hawks coach Lisa Villareal, who led Volcano Vista to three state championships in the previous decade. “The girls are excited to be here again. We’re in the final four, and we’ll just take it one game at a time. Hopefully, things fall into place.”

Through their first 10 wins this season, the Hawks’ average margin of victory was more than 33 points a game, and the closest contest was decided by 18 points.

That blowout trend was amplified in a runaway first half, when Volcano Vista forced 19 La Cueva first=-half turnovers, allowed just two total field goals and raced to a 37-5 advantage.

The Hawks’ press did ample damage to create easy transition opportunities, but an aggressive halfcourt zone defense also stifled the Bears (7-4).

“Pressure is our signature,” Villareal said.  “We like to press and contain, and we look for a lot of transition points.”

Indeed, transition points accounted for the majority of those first-half points.

Natalia Chavez scored a game-high 17 points for Volcano Vista, and her first two buckets of the game were a 3-pointer following a teammate’s steal, and then a do-it-yourself steal that she brought home for an easy layup.

Giannah Aragon and Jaelyn Bates complemented Chavez’s early offense chipping in with 15 combined first-half points.

After Jerzie Jones’ three-point play for La Cueva made it a 9-3 game with 3:15 to play in the opening quarter, Volcano Vista closed the half on a 28-2 run.

“We played terrible,” said La Cueva coach Robert Perea, his only post-game comment.

Some of the Bears’ first-half mistakes were self-inflicted, but many were the effects of Volcano Vista’s relentless play on both ends of the floor.

“We focus on four E’s, and that all starts off with our energy,” Villareal said. “That was key tonight. The girls are on a mission, and it’s a great thing to watch. These are games I wish I was watching in the stands.”

Aragon and reserve Taejhuan Hill each had a dozen points for Volcano Vista, which hosts the winner of Centennial and Eldorado on Thursday.

Jones scored 13 points to lead La Cueva.

— Patrick Newell/For the Journal

No. 2 VOLCANO VISTA  58,  No. 7 LA CUEVA 24

La Cueva (7-4) :  Rylie Ottman 2 0-0-4, Jerzie Jones 4 3-6-13 , Emma Cook 2 0-0-4, Erica Ihlein 0 0-0-0, Olivia Haddock 0 0-0-0 , Alexis Ayers 0 1-2-1, Eva Love 0 1-2-1, Kaylyn Henry 0 0-0-0 , Teona Savic 0 1-3-1,  Brianna Wiltgen 0 0-0-0, Bailey Jacobs 0 0-0-0. Totals:   8 6-13-24.

Volcano Vista (11-0) :  Kennedy Brown 1 1-2-3, Mari Manzaneres 0 0-0-0, Jaelyn Bates 5 0-0-10, Savannah McGuire 0 0-0-0 , Giannah Aragon  3 5-8-12, Natalia Chavez 7 0-0-17, Kathryn Kemp 1 0-0-2, Briana Blea 0 0-0-0, Taejhuan Hill 6 0-1-12, Angelyn Aranda 1 0-0-2. Totals:  24 6-11-58

La Cueva   3   2   6  13–24

V. Vista  16  21  9  12–58

3-Point goals:  VV 4 (Chavez 3, Aragon).  LC 2 (Jones 2). Team fouls:  VV 13, LC 15.  Fouled out:  LC-Love.  Turnovers:  VV 16, LC 28.

Los Lunas Lady Tiger Klarissa Hall, left, screens Cleveland Alexa Madueno, center, while her teammate Natalie Jojola dribbles the ball during the game played at Cleveland. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

NO. 4 LOS LUNAS 55, NO. 5 CLEVELAND 48 (2 OT): At Cleveland, senior Natalie Jojola had been a non-factor for the Tigers through regulation, managing only two points.

But she had 15 points in both overtimes for the Tigers (12-1), who overcame the Storm in the quarterfinals and advanced to play No. 1 Hobbs in Thursday’s semifinals.

Cleveland (10-3) opened the game on a 16-2 run. Only when the Tigers rallied in the fourth quarter did they keep alive their hope for a fourth straight state championship, although the previous three were in Class 4A.

Los Lunas had a chance to end the game in the first OT, but the Tigers were a woeful 2 of 7 at the line.

After a free throw early in the second OT gave the Storm a 42-41 lead, Jojola nailed back-to-back 3s and gave the Tigers the lead to keep. She also hit six free throws in the final 2:05 of the second overtime.

Jojola led the Tigers with 17 points. Shawntae Salazar finished with a team-high 15 for Cleveland.

The game was played at Cleveland, despite Los Lunas being the higher seed.

— Gary Herron

Los Lunas 55, Cleveland 48 (2OT)

LOS LUNAS: Mia Guest 14, Jessica Otero 1, Marissa Hall 9, Natalie Jojola 17, Seleena Gabaldon 14. FG 17. FT 15-23.

CLEVELAND: Shawntae Salazar 15, Angelique Abeyta 4, Alexa Madueno 11, Mia Nelson 2, Isabel Valdez 5, Brenna Wolfe 9, Allyson Frank 2. FG 17. FT 10-14.

Los Lunas 6 14 9 7 5 14—55

Cleveland 17 6 11 2 5 7—48

3-Point FG: LL, 5 (Guest 2, Jojola 3); Cle, 4 (Salazar 3, Madueno 1). Team Fouls: LL, 16; Cle, 20. Fouled Out: LL (Hall); Cle (Wolf). Tech.: none.

ALSO TUESDAY: No. 6 Eldorado upset No. 3 Centennial 47-44 in Las Cruces, as senior guard Cece Barela scored 26 points to lead the Eagles (7-2). … Class 5A’s No. 1 Hobbs downed No. 8 Sandia 59-42.


ELDORADO (7-2): Andrea Ellis 2, Ella Dion 9, Hayley Valencia 6, Jayden Jefferson 2, Maria Barela 26, Jaylen Jefferson 2. Totals: FG 17, FT 7-13.

CENTENNIAL (12-1): Paetin Silva 5, Kalsey Frost 8, Aspen Salazar 11, Joslyn Montez 2, Marissa Laborin 18. Totals: FG 17, FT 9-15.

Eldorado 13 9 9 18—47

Centennial 5 12 10 17—44

3-pointers: E 6 (Barela 5, Dion), C 1 (Silva). Team fouls: C 16, E 14. Fouled out: C, Salazar. Technicals: None.

Class 4A GIRLS (with bracket)

The three metro-area girls teams in the Class 4A quarterfinals — No. 3 Bernalillo, No. 5 Highland and No. 7 St. Pius — all were eliminated on Tuesday night in the quarterfinals. The Spartans fell 48-45 at home to Kirtland Central.

Class 3A GIRLS (with bracket)

Class 2A GIRLS (with bracket)

Class 1A GIRLS (with bracket)

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