Lady Lynx, Zuni crowned tourney co-champions
The slimmed-down Rehoboth Christian girls’ tournament crowned to co-champions on Saturday.
The host Lady Lynx shared the title with Zuni as both squads went undefeated in the six-team tournament.
Earlier last week, two teams dropped out due to COVID-19 cases on their respective teams.
“I’m praying for everybody,” Rehoboth coach Adrian Pete said. “Hopefully, everyone is safe. I know there are a lot of new cases. There have been some postponements, and some tournaments have been canceled. We understand that our kids want to keep playing, but we also know that we have to stay safe.
“I’m praying that everyone’s season ends on a good note,” he added. “We just want everyone to have a complete season.”
In its final game on Saturday, the Lynx battled back from a 21-16 halftime deficit to post a 47-35 win over Albuquerque Menaul.
“It was a good win for us,” said Pete, whose team improved to 7-6 overall. “We had a rough start here. We were doing things well first quarter. We were getting turnovers (but) we just couldn’t execute. We couldn’t get the ball in the basket. We were missing some layups, and then we got rolling.”
In the opening quarter, though, points were hard to come by as Menaul led 6-2.
The visiting Lady Panthers hit four treys in the second to get that 6-point advantage.
“They’re a good shooting team,” Pete said of Menaul. “When you play zone on Menaul, those girls can shoot, so we went back to a man-to-man and I told the girls that your defense is going to be able to create these turnovers and get some layups. We just had to make the layups and have fun.”
With his team pressing, the Lynx created some turnovers, and this time they finished.
“We had to inch our way back up,” Pete said. “The girls executed, and they played smart. Even at the end, we ran the clock off and worked for a good shot.
“Usually, we’ve not made good decisions on that part,” he added.
Nonetheless, Pete still wants his club to attack the basket.
“We’re still going to do that but don’t be so in a hurry to score,” he said. “Let it come to us, and we need to work for a good shot.”
Senior Kari Kallestewa, who was tabbed the MVP, led all scorers with 23 points, including 13 in the final stanza.
Sophomore Emily Garcia and senior Gwen Sanchez chipped in seven apiece.
Pete said Kallestewa is his most consistent scorer.
“After that, it’s kind of mixed,” he said. “Kristen (Nastacio) will have a good night, Gwen will have a good night, and Emily will have a good night, so it’s kind of give and take.”
And although his team comprises of seniors, Pete said they’re young in terms of experience.
“They haven’t seen a lot of playing time,” he said. “Now it’s their turn. They’re now getting 80, 90 percent of the playing time.”
As a state playoff team last year, Pete said his team is looking to make it back to the 2A state tournament. This year it will have to contend with Navajo Pine, Dulce, and Laguna-Acoma to get there. (The latter two did not play last season due to COVID.)
“Laguna is the team to beat right now,” the Rehoboth coach said. “They’re tough, and Dulce is looking pretty good. If we can be consistent, we can compete for a district title.”
Pete said don’t count out Navajo Pine as the Warriors enter have posted a 4-9 mark as of press time.
Rehoboth is headed to the Reserve tournament. It will play Quemado at 6:30 p.m. tonight in the opening round.
“We want to give opportunity for the girls to play some teams that we normally wouldn’t play,” Pete said. “We’re going to make the three-hour trip and spend the night. We’re going to play some good basketball and then get back for district.”