The Gallup High School Lady Bengals finally found a reason to care.
As the Lady Bengals cruised through the regular season beating teams by about 40 points a game and getting the No. 1 seed in the state tournament, Gallup head coach Kamau Turner said his team cared very little about the winning streak and the hype that came with it.
He said they just wanted to play Lady Bengal basketball.
When it came to the final game of the season against No. 2 Los Lunas, the team showed just how much they cared.
Gallup fell short to Los Lunas 68-63 in the New Mexico Class 5A state basketball championship game held at the University of New Mexico WisePies Arena aka ‘The Pit’ on March 13.
It was a tough battle throughout but they didn’t lose because they weren’t playing Bengal basketball.
“I know we didn’t lose because of lack of effort,” Turner said. “We lost because of lack of total execution, but I’m so proud of these young ladies and I’m very proud to be their coach.”
Gallup had a typical first half. They crashed the boards and led 19-18 by the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter they had a 10-point run and led Los Lunas 41-34 at the half.
In the third quarter, the Bengals were hurt by fouls as three key starters went to the bench with three fouls each. Some of those fouls were player controlled fouls.
With the loss of possessions, Los Lunas ended up tying up the game at 49-all at the end of the third quarter.
Turner said the charges had a huge impact on his team’s performance.
“Sometimes when there’s a lot of charges called…you start changing how you play. That gets into your mind when you don’t know what’s a charge (and) what’s not a charge that hurt us a lot,” he said. “We just got to knock down shots when we get them, push, push, push and be aggressive.”
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