KC, SFIS and Mescalero Apache fall short in finals
By Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi and Quentin Jodie
The Kirtland Central High School girl’s basketball team was just a few plays short of earning their 20th state title.
The No. 1 seeded Lady Broncos fells short No. 2 seed Los Lunas 49-43 in the New Mexico Class 4A high school state championships.
Kirtland Central head coach Devon Manning said when the Lady Tigers pushed, his girls pushed back, which made for a tight match up.
“We just didn’t make enough plays,” he said. “I got to give Los Lunas a lot of credit, they made us work and I thought we made them work too.”
The two teams kept tight game in the first half, exchanging long-range shots and attacked the basket. Los Lunas made a small run to lead 25-20 at the half.
The Tigers continued to make small runs and plays that widen the gap between them and Kirtland Central.
After three quarters, Los Lunas led 38-28.
Kirtland Central narrowed the gap in the fourth quarter, but Los Lunas remained a few plays ahead of the Lady Broncos. Los Lunas closed in for the 49-43 win.
Kirtland Central made 16-of-42 shots for a 38 percent clip while Los Lunas were 17-of-28 for 61 percent.
“We picked the wrong game to not have a good shooting game,” Manning said. “As bad as we shot, we were still in it. We just didn’t make enough plays.”
The Lady Broncos graduate six seniors and finished the season 27-4 overall.
Santa Fe Indian School also finished just short of a state title. They fell to district-rivals Robertson 62-46.
In the 2A girls finals, the Mescalero Apache Lady Chiefs saw its hopes of a state title slip away in OT.
The No. 3 seeded Pecos Lady Panthers scored on every possession as they had to pull out a hard-fought 53-46 win.
Mescalero Apache had an opportunity to win it in regulation but with one-tenth of a second they could not convert a free throw as the game went in OT.
“Going into OT we were kind of down because we missed a free to where we could have won the game,” Mescalero Chief coach Elmer Chavez said. “You could see the mental letdown right down.
“When we started we weren’t prepared to go into OT,” he added. “And they (Pecos) started going inside on us and we had one of our top players (Fallon Velasquez) foul out.”