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Girls 5A Quarters: Española Valley handles Lovington

(4) ESPANOLA VALLEY 61, (5) LOVINGTON 48: The fourth-seeded Sundevils (25-3) finally pulled the fifth-seeded Wildcats (17-10) out of their zone in the fourth quarter, then pulled away at the foul line in the fourth quarter to win a Class 5A tournament quarterfinal game in the Pit early Tuesday evening.
The Sundevils will play in Thursday‘s semifinals against the winner of Tuesday‘s late game between Belen and Gallup.
Española Valley got a game-high 21 points from Alexis Lovato, who was 7 of 9 from the floor and 7 of 8 from the line. The Sundevils hit 15 of 19 free throws in the final period to finish 19 of 25.
The game was tied 12-12 after the first quarter and the Sundevils led just 26-24 at the half. The Sundevils hit just 2 of 11 3-pointers (18 percent) in the first half, but Lovington was just 6 of 26 on all field goals (23 percent).
Española Valley ended the third quarter on a big play, when Lovato scored on a put-back and was fouled for a three-point play to give the Sundevils a 38-31 lead.
“After that we were able to start pulling them out of their zone and take it inside,” said EspaNola coach Cindy Roybal. “And were able to make our free throws.”
The win sets up a probably dream matchup for the NMAA in Thursday‘s semifinals. Top-seeded Gallup and Española Valley both have enormous fan bases.
“It’s going to be a sellout crowd, I’ll tell you that,” Roybal said. “There’s no room at the Pit (for that many fans). That’s not a wise remark — a WisePies remark, I meant.”
Roybal then pointed at NMAA executive director Sally Marquez and said, “Sally, we’re going to sell it out for you; cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching.”
The Wildcats, who were down just 26-24 at the half, got a team-high 13 points from Myra Salazar.

LOVINGTON (17-10) Valerie Acosta 0, Justize Perry 10, Myra Salazar 13, Taylor Hill 4, Tayler Valencia 2,
Lexi Valencia 7, Addy Jeter 2, Kylee Cunningham 10, Iris Diaz 0. Totals 17-67 FG-FGA; 18-26 FT-FTA 48.
ESPANOLA VALLEY (25-3) Leah DeAguero 10, Alicia Archibeque 6, Celina Velasquez 0, Kaitlyn Romero 6, Joselynn Rascon 2, Kayla Salazar 10, Alexis Lovato 21, Brittany Gallegos 6.
Lovington    12    12    7    17    48
EspaNola Valley    12    14    12    23        61    
3-pointers: L, 4-12 (Salazar 2, Hill, Valencia); E, 2-14 (DeAguero 2). Team fouls: L 23, E 18. Fouled out: L, Valencia. Assists: L 7 (Valencia 3, Perry 3); E, 14 (Romero 6, Salazar 5). Rebounds: L, 43 (Cunningham 10, Jeter 7); E, 38 (Lovato 10, Romero 8). Turnovers: L 12, E 14.