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Face to Face with the Class 4A state champion Santa Fe Demonettes

The Santa Fe Demonettes ended a 26-year-long state title drought on March 14 by defeating defending champion Los Lunas, 34-29, at the Pit. The Demonettes erased a nine-point second-half lead, led by Jackie Martinez, with 15 points. Sabrina Lozada-Cabbage followed with eight points and eight rebounds. Along with Martinez and Lozada-Cabbage, Kayla Herrera, Savina Padilla and Briana Hernandez round out the Demonette starting five.

The Q&A

What does winning the state title mean for Santa Fe High?

Padilla: It’s just a huge accomplishment — the last one was 1988. This was for our school, our fans and our coaches.

Herrera: It meant a lot to Santa Fe High, but it also meant a lot for northerners. I know a lot of people — St. Mike’s were congratulating us — even strangers telling us how proud of us they were. It was just great seeing Santa Fe High set in a positive light.

Hernandez: It’s been 26 years, we brought home something incredible. We made history.

Santa Fe High coach Elmer Chavez, left, with Jackie Martinez. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Santa Fe High coach Elmer Chavez, left, with Jackie Martinez. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

With four of the five starters returning, what are your thoughts about competing in Class 6A, which will be the state’s largest classification, next year?

Padilla: It’s just a number — 6A. It may be more competition, but I think we can handle it.

Hernandez: I think we’re going to have a good chance to defend our title — we’re not nervous at all.

Lozada-Cabbage: Our goals for next season are the same this year. We’re going to try and win every tournament we enter — from the first to the last. So we’ll see what happens next year. I think we can make a run next year.

What was the mood of the team like at halftime?

Hernandez: I just remember thinking that I knew we would pull through. We’ve been in so many close games this year — especially against Española — that we knew how to handle ourselves. And because Los Lunas just blew out every team, when it came down to pulling everything together, we were more efficient.

What is the most satisfying part of winning a state title?

Lozada-Cabbage: So many people have doubted us. So many people didn’t believe in us. So the way I see it, we proved a lot of people wrong.

Chavez: Before this, girls basketball in Santa Fe was an afterthought. Now I think we’ve created a buzz. I hope all the girls will get the recognition they deserve.