Lady Tigers roll to wins in first two games; Academy tourney next week
The Zeller era began for Los Lunas girls basketball this week, and there were plenty of rebounds and inside points to be had.
While the Lady Tigers certainly still have a few areas for improvement, they saw this week the tremendous impact of their new coach and player. Coach Marty Zeller’s new system, which includes his daughter, 6-foot, 2-inch junior transfer Teige Zeller.
The Tigers are 2-0 after beating Del Norte, 51-21, on Tuesday, and Bernalillo, 60-17, on Thursday in a pair of home games. They’re set to play at Albuquerque High at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, and will play in the Joe Armijo Tournament at Albuquerque Academy later in the week.
Their first-round opponent at the Armijo tourney will be Los Alamos, whom the Tigers will face at about 1:15 p.m. on Thursday at Academy.
Los Lunas 60 Bernalillo 17
Unlike the first game of the Zeller era, Los Lunas took a steady pace in blowing out Bernalillo on the Tigers’ home court.
Coach Zeller noted that holding the Spartans to just four points, all from the line, in the second half showed that steady improvement he expects from his team.
“When you are playing a team, and they know what you are doing and you improve on it, well, we talk a lot about that,” said Zeller. “It is our motto on defense and they proved that they wanted to do that tonight.
“It says a lot, holding a varsity team to one point in the fourth quarter.”
The Tigers not only held Bernalillo to just four second half points, but they limited the Spartans to just two field goals in the contest. Both of those came in the first half.
Los Lunas led 12-7 after the first quarter and did have some foul trouble. The Tigers were whistled for seven fouls in the first period, while Bernalillo only picked up one.
The Tigers built the lead to 32-13 at the half on the strength of Tiege Zeller’s 13 points. Los Lunas went on an 11-0 run to start the second quarter to remove any doubt about the outcome.
Elise Tapia provided a surge in the third quarter, hitting a 3-pointer and then stealing the ball and going for a lay up in the early part of the second half.
Los Lunas led 39-14 to invoke the 35-point rule running clock. It continued throughout the rest of the game.
Cera Chavez put the finishing touches on the night with a quick three and a lay up to make it 60-17 with 1:23 remaining in the game.
Coach Zeller loved the emotion and fan support for his new hometown team.
“I am changing my wardrobe from all of the red and black to orange and blue,” said Zeller, the former Grants coach. “I love it because there is so much spirit here.”
Tiege Zeller led the scoring with 22 points. Tapia added nine, while Katie Inman and Chavez had five each.
Los Lunas 51, Del Norte 21
In Tuesday’s LLHS season opener, the Tigers struggled to knock down shots here and there, but mostly dominated the Lady Knights (0-2).
Del Norte, coached by Peralta resident David Medina, couldn’t do much with its young lineup, especially on offense. The Tigers denied dribble penetration, made steals on entry passes and kept the Knights from getting many open looks at the basket.
At the offensive end, the Tigers took a few ill-advised shots and missed some looks, but Teige Zeller, Tinaya Murphy and Inman were among those getting offensive rebounds.
Los Lunas led 14-3 after one quarter and 25-7 at the half. The Tigers used a 16-0, third-quarter run to go up 41-9.
Teige Zeller led all scorers with 19 points, followed by Murphy with nine and Inman with eight.
Del Norte, which made only six shots from the field and zero 3-pointers, was led by Alannah Blackgoat, who had eight points.
—Jason W. Brooks