Lady Jaguars are 6-2 going into LLHS tourney

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Even in the Valencia High girls basketball team’s victories this year, the Lady Jaguars have not always put four quarters together.

The Jags seem to be strong in the third quarter, and were tenacious early in the second half of Saturday’s 42-32 win over Del Norte. They take their 6-2 record into this week’s Village of Los Lunas Holiday Classic at Los Lunas High, where they’ll open with a noon game Thursday against Centennial.

Jason W. Brooks-News-Bulletin photo: Miranda Chavez of Valencia hauls in a rebound in front of Del Norte’s Elise Medina in Saturday’s game. The Lady Jags beat Del Norte, 42-32, on Saturday and are set to face Centennial at about noon Thursday in the first round of the Village of Los Lunas Holiday Classic at Los Lunas High.

“It’s terrible,” said VHS point guard Kailey Dow, of how her team seems to wait to make a second-half run. “We need to get our defense going earlier.”

Up 19-16 at halftime in Saturday’s game, the Jags pressured the Knights (1-4) and created turnovers to build a 33-20 lead. The Knights hung around, aided partly by the perimeter shooting of Peralta resident Elise Medina, but never got any closer than 37-30 in the final minutes, and the Jags played enough defense and hit some free throws to hang on for the win.

“Our press, when done right, is effective,” said VHS coach Shannon Vigil. “We got a little lazy on defense at times.”

Brenda Baeza had a strong game for VHS, especially in the paint, and had a team-high 16 points. Dow added 12.

Medina hit all four of the Knights’ 3-pointers, and had 16 points of her own. No other Knight had more than six, and Medina’s father, David, the Knight coach, said his young team didn’t execute well in some cases.

Centennial is 6-4, and has lost to one team, Sandia Prep, which the Jags beat by 36 points. Dow said Valencia is jelling, but some work needs to be done.

“We need to run the offense with more continuity,” said Dow.


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