SANTA FE, N.M. — Jackie Martinez remembers vividly when her Santa Fe Demonettes were the up-and-comers.
The team with potential.
How quickly times change.
That was only three nights ago when Santa Fe upset three-time defending District 2-4A champion Española Valley. Since then, the Demonettes (13-5, 2-0 district) have solidified themselves as the frontrunner in the district race by not just taking down perennial league powerhouse Los Alamos (10-10, 1-1), but by overwhelming the Hilltoppers in nearly every phase of the game en route to a 54-30 win Friday at the Toby Roybal Gymnasium.
“We wanted to come out here and show that us beating Española was not a fluke,” Martinez said. “It was for real and we’re for real.
“… We’re now the team to beat. Before we played Española, we were the ones chasing them. But like I told my ladies before this game, it’s now Los Alamos chasing us. There was a little extra pressure tonight, but nobody beats us in our house.”
At least not on this night.
Los Alamos missed its first six shots of the game to spot the Demonettes an 11-2 lead, and didn’t record a field goal until the final 1:31 of the opening period, which set the tone for this one-sided ballgame.
Sabrina Lozado-Cabbage hit three of her first four attempts to post six of her team-high 15 points in the first quarter, while the Demonettes’ defense kept the ‘Toppers off balance, forcing 16 turnovers in the opening half and 30 for the contest. Kayla Herrera would then add all 10 of her points in the second quarter, as Santa Fe went up by as many as 17 points, going into the break with a 29-12 advantage.
While Santa Fe coach Elmer Chavez did have fears of a second-half letdown, his concerns were put to rest after the Demonettes put together an 11-2 run in the third period to break open the game, leading 40-17. Martinez scored nine of her 11 points in the quarter. And with the game in hand by the final period – the Demonettes’ largest lead of the game was 52-22 with 4:59 to play – Chavez was able to give his bench some much-needed playing time.
“We’re getting better,” he said. “I really wanted to push my seven, eight and nine players to get them stronger because we’ll need them down the stretch and at state. I think they did a pretty good job tonight.”
As for the ‘Toppers, Los Alamos coach Tarah Logan said not having one of the team’s leading scorers, Haley Each – who averages about 14 points per game – in the lineup due to illness may have contributed to the loss. And then losing point guard Amber Logan for much of the first half after taking a charge certainly didn’t help. But what troubled her most was how her team responded to the adversity.
“We came to play a game tonight; we didn’t come to win,” she said. “We’re missing Haley and our team struggled bringing the ball down. Then when Amber got hurt, we struggled even more and the girls panicked. Once that happens there’s no coming back.
“We played scared.”
Logan said Each has a sinus infection and is expected back next week.