Santa Fe Indian takes aim at Robertson for 5th time
RIO RANCHO, N.M.
Even without head coach Patricia Chavez calling the shots, the Santa Fe Indian School girls’ basketball never veered off course.
The No. 2 Lady Braves held No. 6 seed Tularosa to 7 points in the second and third quarter en route to a 56-38 win in Thursday’s Class 3A state semifinals at the Santa Ana Star Center.
“It wasn’t a huge surprise,” Santa Fe Indian senior Camilla Lewis said of having assistant coach Terry Morrison take over the team as Chavez sat at the end of the bench wearing a medical face mask.
With the two coaches working in tandem the past season, Lewis said, there was no difference in they way they played.
“We were ready for that change,” she said. “Coach Morrison is a great coach and she always tells us that it’s us playing the game and not her so we were ready to play and it didn’t matter who was coaching.”
There were three lead changes early in the contest but Santa Fe Indian used a 13-0 run to gain a 22-13 edge with 4:27 left in the second on a putback by freshman Cameron Connors.
At the break, the Lady Braves led 28-20.
SFIS opened the second half by building a 14-point cushion and never looked back.
“The team that we played against, they do some great things and they make you play hard,” Morrison said. “They pushed in transition but we never got stressed about it.”
The interim coach played her entire squad with seven players scoring at least 3 points headed by the 18-point effort turned in by senior Marlena Yazzie while freshman forward Cameron Connors came off the bench with 11 points. Junior Iris Emery added 10.
“What I loved about tonight is we had people come off the bench and give us quality minutes,” Morrison said. “That’s the kind of kids they are.”
With the game speeded up Tularosa finished with 21 turnovers, leading to 26 points for the Braves. The only glaring stat that went against SFIS was free-throw conversions.
The Braves hit 19-of-36 at the charity line that was a cause of a concern for Morrison.
“That’s what we talked about in the timeouts,” Morrison said. “I told them you got to start using your routine.”
With the win, the Lady Braves advanced into today’s championship game, which is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Dreamstyle Arena at the University of New Mexico campus.
The No. 2 seed Lady Braves (27-4) will take on top-seeded Las Vegas Robertson, its league rival in District 2-3A. This will be the fifth meeting between the two squads with Robertson (27-2) owning a 3-1 record over the Lady Braves.
“I think it doesn’t matter how many stars are on the team or whatever they are coming with their record, I think it’s anybody’s game at this point,” Morrison said. “So no matter who’s on the end of the bench and whoever has the stripes on the floor it’s really going to be what they’re going to do.”
To have a chance, Morrison said, they need to protect the ball and control the boards.
“You know you got to do the things you got to do and maybe we can have some luck,” she said. “It’s going to be a great game and with the guys playing (in today’s semifinals) what a great week for Santa Fe Indian School.”