Lady Jags reach final of tourney, then lose to Santa Fe High

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While the Valencia High girls basketball team faced completely different opponents in last weekend’s three games at the Al Armendariz Classic, the Lady Jaguars learned a few new things about the squad in the tournament.

Jason W. Brooks-News-Bulletin photo: Lorien Aragon of Valencia drives around Bryana Garcia of Santa Fe High in Saturday’s game. The Lady Jaguars lost to Santa Fe High, 48-34, in the championship of the Al Armendariz Classic at Capital High in Santa Fe.

The young lineup of the Lady Jaguars blew out Deming in Thursday’s first round, and trounced host Capital, 53-16, in Friday’s semifinal to advance to Saturday’s title game. There, they lost 48-34 to a talented Santa Fe High team to place second in the tournament.

VHS was set to host Capital in a rematch after News-Bulletin press time Tuesday. The Jaguars, who were 3-2 after Saturday’s loss, are scheduled to travel to Moriarty on Dec. 18.

“This is the first time we’ve made it to the championship game of a tournament on the road,” said VHS coach Shannon Vigil. “But Santa Fe High does everything so well, and we went into one of our famous stretches where we couldn’t score.”

A big second half helped the Jags to a 55-23 win over Deming in Thursday’s first round of the Armendariz Classic, held at Capital High. That’s what happened again Friday as the Jaguars, who led 18-5 at the half against Capital, were able to score more in the second half.

Karina Dow led the Jags with 16 points Friday, while teammate Brenda Baeza added 13 in the win over Capital (1-4), also called the Jaguars.

The win put the Jags in a championship game for the first time in a tournament on the road. Valencia captured its program’s first varsity tourney crown when it won the Village of Los Lunas Holiday Classic last season at VHS.

Santa Fe High came into Saturday’s championship game undefeated, having won all six of its games by at least 14 points, and blowing out Goddard and Thoreau to reach the tourney final. Their rather tall, athletic lineup pressured and stopped the movement of the Valencia offense in Saturday’s game — especially in the second half.

The Jags trailed 25-16 at halftime, and then really struggled on offense in the third quarter. Savannah Stump’s layup with 1:25 left in the third period was Valencia’s first score of the second half.

Valencia got a few lob passes into its posts for some easy layups, but when the Jag guards tried to dribble-penetrate, the Demons (7-0) cut off all lanes to the basket.

The Jaguars were led by Baeza’s 10 points in the game, while Miranda “Next Week” Chavez had nine. Baeza and teammate Tori Torres made the all-tourney team.

Jackie Martinez led the Demons with 13 points, including a fourth-quarter, 10-foot bank shot with Chavez’s hand in her face. Sabrina Lozada-Cabbage added 11 points, while Kayla Herrera had 10.

Hot Springs High canceled its scheduled Dec. 15 trip to Valencia, and no replacement had been found as of press time.

“We faced Valencia in some summer tournaments,” said Santa Fe coach Elmer Chavez. “They got the ball inside on us a few times. They’ll improve — There aren’t any coaches that work harder than Shannon and (assistant coach) Manny (Vigil).”


-- Email the author at jbrooks@news-bulletin.com.