New Mexico Class 4A
Roswell girls end Gallup's season
By Quentin Jodie
ALBUQUERQUE, March 14, 2013
(Times photo – Donovan Quintero)
C onsidering the parity in New Mexico Class 4A, the girls portion of the tournament has no gimmes.
In fact, the teams wanting to make the championship game on Friday night will have an even bigger challenge than usual at reaching those goals.
Just ask Roswell coach Joe Carpenter.
As the tournament's No. 2 seed, the long-time Coyote coach had some reservations about facing No. 7 Gallup in the second round as their match-up on Tuesday night was worthy of a championship-like game.
"I have a lot of respect for (Gallup coach Kamau) Turner," Carpenter said. "And you know we talked about that before the game and they had to live with that No. 7 seed and Gallup was not one of those teams that I wanted to play in the second round when we got here."
Carpenter said it was unfortunate to see Gallup get out that early in the tournament. Nonetheless both teams put on a show as Roswell outlasted the Bengals, 43-35, before 8,000-plus fans, which favored Gallup, at the Pit in Albuquerque.
"I don't know if it was mutual, but I don't think they wanted to play us in the second round either but it came out that way," Carpenter said. "Now we have to play Santa Fe and maybe Los Lunas or St. Pius and that's a tough road right there and I know this game is going to take a lot out of us.
"Luckily we have a day off tomorrow," he said with a chuckle.
After taking a 26-24 lead at the end of the third quarter, the Coyotes put together an 8-1 run and went up 34-25 on two free throws from Tiffanie Bolanos with 4:01 to go in regulation.
But for the next two minutes, the momentum shifted Gallup's way.
Junior guard Kaylee Tsinigine started that rally with a trey. On Roswell's next possession, Gallup post Ni'asia McIntosh stole the ball underneath their basket and was immediately fouled.
Her two free throws cut Roswell's lead down to 34-30 with 2:57 to go.
The Bengals used a 4-1 run to pull within one on two buckets by senior guard Shanelle Begay, including a coast-to-coast layup that made it 35-34 with 1:34 to go.
Unfortunately that was as close as Gallup would get as Roswell closed out the game on another 8-1 run.
"They battled and no one can doubt their efforts," Gallup coach Kamau Turner said of his team. "I was proud with how they played. They came back, they kept fighting and we had a chance, but you know Roswell beat us.
Some of the breaks came at the right time as the Coyotes got some much-needed breathing room by nailing four straight free throws down the stretch for a 39-34 lead.
"We just found the right people we needed on the line," Carpenter said. "They just stepped up and you know there was a lot of pressure on them because the Gallup fans are good fans.
"They go out there and they support their kids and you know it was a tough environment for us," he said, while adding that his kids handled the atmosphere very well.
Roswell, which made 9 of 11 free throws in the fourth quarter, got a double-double from Georgia Eldridge. The sophomore post scored 10 points and hauled down 12 rebounds coming off the bench.
For Gallup, Begay finished with 10 points and 12 boards in her last game as a high school player. Tsinigine added eight points while McIntosh helped out with six points and 17 rebounds.
In addition to Begay, the Bengals will lose Chelsea Barber to graduation later this spring.
"It was a good season," Turner said when asked to assess the year. "We have two seniors and this isn't a team with a bunch of experience."
With a majority of his players coming back a year from now, Turner said he sees no reason why they can't be a great team next season.
"There are things we have to work on," he said. "It's kind of up to the kids if they want to get past this point."