Navajo Prep scored a convincing victory over Robertson in Friday’s Class 3A girls basketball championship game at the Pit.
Pecos won the later 2A final (see below).
Here is Saturday’s four-game schedule:
4A girls: Gallup vs. Española Valley, 10 a.m.
4A boys: Del Norte vs. Artesia, 12:30 p.m.
5A girls: Hobbs vs. Volcano Vista, 4 p.m.
5A boys: Cleveland vs. Las Cruces, 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: Available online only and are good for one session (4A is one session, 5A is another) through golobos.com. The Pit will be cleared between sessions.
Back to Friday:
Top-seeded Navajo Prep removed any suspense early in its 63-47 win over No. 6 Robertson. Four of Prep’s first five baskets were 3s, and before the young Cardinals could adjust and account for nerves, they were already trailing 18-2.
“The first two minutes of the game was huge,” said Prep coach Rainy Crisp. “We had to be the one to set the momentum and the tempo of the game. So the first two minutes of each quarter is big for us so we wanted to make sure we set the momentum.”
In earning a repeat championship, the Eagles (14-0) also forced eight turnovers in the first quarter, leaving Robertson (10-5), which has no seniors, four juniors and eight sophomores, a bit discombobulated.
“For a young kid to come down the ramp and get out there and then to play against a pretty dang tough team, it’s a lot of ask from them,” said Robertson coach José “Majic” Medina. “They were like in shock.”
It didn’t help that Prep was dropping pellets through the hoop.
“These girls, they basically have the green light to shoot,” Crisp said. “All of them can shoot well. If they’re open, they’re going to take it. Even though I’m screaming ‘no’ on the sideline, they’re going to take it anyway.”
Trailing 23-6 at the end of one, Medina said it was time to try something different.
“We threw the playbook out the window,” he said. “It now had to come down to hustle, heart, and guts. And try and make things happen. Try and make it a chaotic game and hopefully we get some easy shots and steals.”
It didn’t quite work out that way as TionTai Woods had 23 points and Aiona Johnson 13, with 12 from Hailey Martin. Robertson’s only double-figure scorer, Jayden Jenkins, finished with 23.
The Eagles forced 23 turnovers.
— Glen Rosales
Want to hear something that defies logic?
The Lordsburg High School girls basketball team on Friday night committed 50 turnovers — and still very nearly won the Class 2A state championship.
Alas, the Mavericks could not overcome those half a hundred giveaways, and top-seeded Pecos (14-0) earned the blue trophy with a close — but almost indescribably sloppy — 61-55 victory over No. 2 seed Lordsburg (12-2) at the Pit.
Senior guard Trinity Herrera had one of the rarest double-doubles there is — points (25) and steals (10) — as the Panthers won state for the second time in three seasons. It is the fifth year in a row that Pecos High has captured at least one blue trophy, either boys or girls, in basketball.
“It’s amazing,” said Herrera. “We’ve been working since we were, like, 5 years old, ever since we were little. It feels good to end on a good note.”
Pecos scored 41 points off the 50 Lordsburg turnovers, many of which came in flurries against a young backcourt with only one senior, and the Panthers recorded 41 fast-break points, most the result of their constant pressure.
“We knew it was gonna be tough with the turnovers,” Mavericks coach Rodney Plowman said. “We knew they played a lot of pressure. Sometimes we handled it well, then we went south.”
Another stat that reveals the importance of the turnovers: Lordsburg shot 56.8% from the field, Pecos just 28.6 percent. But the Panthers attempted 63 shots from the floor, compared to a mere 37 for the Mavericks.
Herrera and Pecos coach Bryan Gonzales had to navigate through some foul trouble in the second half. When Herrera left the floor with her fourth foul, the Mavericks seemed to gain some breathing room.
When Herrera returned at a crucial stage in the fourth quarter, Pecos regained its collective defensive footing.
“I trust my girls,” Gonzales said. “It got a little close, but I just felt we needed to bring her in at a certain time. Because I knew she was gonna go to work, and I know what she can do.”
So how did the Mavericks manage to give themselves a chance to win despite 50 turnovers?
Look no further than senior post Madison Miller.
The 6-foot Miller single-handedly kept Lordsburg in this game with a stellar 29-point, 18-rebound, eight-blocks performance. The Mavericks led 52-47, their largest lead of the game, with 3:48 remaining after Miller scored eight straight. Miller was 12-of-16 from the field, and the smaller Panthers were unable to impede her in any way.
“She’s a monster,” Gonzales said. “She is so hard to defend, and the thing is, she doesn’t miss. … She was hitting everything.”
Miller, a fifth-year player and senior for the Mavericks, was never flustered despite Pecos’ best efforts.
“Every team runs something a little different,” she said. “They all try to put more people on me.”
But Pecos’ pressure, which was troublesome for Lordsburg from the opening tip — the Mavs had 15 turnovers in the first quarter alone — eventually forced the key mistakes that got the Panthers back in front late in the game.
A 7-0 run that featured three Maverick turnovers pushed Pecos to a 56-53 lead with 1:40 to go. Miller scored at the other end for a 56-55 game, but an intentional foul against Herrera upped the lead to 58-55 after two free throws.
Down four, Lordsburg attempted a 3, a shot that Plowman clearly believed should have resulted in a Pecos foul. There was no whistle, except for the one he drew moments later on a technical.
Herrera put it away with two more free throws with 15.3 seconds left for a 61-55 lead.
There were a combined 73 turnovers in the game, which was relatively close most of the way. There were nine ties and seven lead changes, and neither team led by more than eight.
Pecos was credited with 34 steals in this game.
“With that amount (of turnovers we forced),” Gonzales said, “we should have capitalized. But we’ll take it however we can get it.”
Lordsburg was in its first state final since 2009. The Mavericks outrebounded the Panthers 47-22.
NO. 1 PECOS 61, NO. 2 LORDSBURG 55
LORDSBURG (12-2): Karissa Delagarza 1-3 0-0 3, Alicia Jaquez 2-4 0-2 4, Brook Hooper 2-5 1-2 5, Angie Aguilar 1-2 3-4 5, Madison Miller 12-16 5-7 29, Emma Mendoza 1-4 2-3 5, Ana Rodriguez 2-3 0-0 4, Alicia Jarrott 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-37 11-18 55.
PECOS (14-0): Trinity Herrera 6-16 13-16 25, Alexis Gonzales 4-10 3-4 11, Alexia Herrera 0-4 0-0 0, Mistidawn Roybal 4-12 3-6 11, Savanah Ortiz 2-7 5-7 9, Natalia Stout 2-13 1-2 5, Mariah Ruiz 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-63 25-35 61.
Lordsburg 12 17 13 13 — 55
Pecos 13 15 16 17 — 61
3-point goals: L 2-6 (Mendoza 1-3, Delagarza 1-3; P 0-14 (Gonzales 0-4, Stout 0-3, T.Herrera 0-2, A.Herrera 0-2, Ortiz 0-2, Ruiz 0-1). Rebounds: L 47 (Miller 18); P 22 (Ortiz 7). Assists: L 17 (Jaquez 7); P 8 (Stout 3). Field-goal percentage: L 56.8%; P 28.6%. Total fouls: L 21; P 17. Fouled out: P, Delagarza. Technical: L coach Plowman. Steals: L 12 (Hooper 4); P 34 (T.Herrera 10). Turnovers: L 50; P 23. Blocked shots: L 10 (Miller 8); P 4 (T.Herrera 3).
Class 5A GIRLS (with bracket)