Lady Jaguars win twice on the road; busy week looms before district

........................................................................................................................................................................................

The Valencia High girls basketball team needed a couple of good wins on the road

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Valencia senior Norene Archuleta drives the basketball, looking for an easy shot inside against Bernalillo defender Dominique Romero during Saturday’s 56-25 Jaguar win. Valencia is idle until Monday, Jan. 14, when they visit Santa Fe Indian School.

The Lady Jaguars (10-3) beat St. Michaels, 46-31, in Santa Fe on Friday night and then trounced the Spartans, 56-25, in Bernalillo on Saturday.

A nine-day break will give the Jags some time on the practice court before going to Santa Fe Indian School for a 6:30 p.m. game on Monday, Jan. 14.

“We are going to use those days to prepare for them, because they (SFIS) are a really great team,” said VHS coach Shannon Vigil of the game with the Class 3A Lady Braves.

Vigil noted that the team would use the time off to get ready for District 6-4A battles, especially after falling to Los Lunas, 50-34, in the recent final of the Village of Los Lunas Holiday Classic.

“We are going to go back and watch the Los Lunas film, and prepare for them,” said Vigil. “We have to be ready for district.”

Monday’s game will be part of a hectic final week before district play begins. The Jags play at Atrisco Heritage Academy on Tuesday, Jan. 15, and host 5A West Mesa on Thursday, Jan. 17.

Valencia 56, Bernalillo 25

The Jags went on an 11-0 run midway through the first quarter Saturday to open a 16-3 lead. Tori Torres put the Jaguars in the driver’s seat with three 3-pointers in the second quarter to give Valencia a 32-15 lead at the half.

Torres’ offensive explosion, with four treys in the first half, is what coach Vigil is looking for during the rest of the season.

“She finally has her confidence back, and her shot back,” said Vigil. “We have more of an inside-outside game going now.”

Torres finished the night with 12 points, while Brenda Baeza and Karina Dow each had 14.

“I think it was a really good game for us,” said Torres. “We were working hard and we are working as a team.”

Baeza did most of her damage inside, while Dow got the offense rolling in the second half with some steals and easy lay-ins against the Lady Spartans (1-13).

“It is just pressuring the ball that creates turnovers for us. It leads to layups,” said Dow.

Vigil was glad to see more scoring from the junior.

“That is what we have been waiting for,” said the Jaguar coach. “We saw this summer that she was a scorer. When she is in that scoring mode, the whole tempo of the game changes for us.”

Dow had 10 points in the second half, equaling the Spartans’ team output during the same time frame.

“When we are able to execute, it just leads to more confidence for us in our game plan,” said Dow. “That is what helped tonight.”

Torres was quick to agree.

“Working together has really paid off in our games,” said the senior guard.

Valencia 47, St. Michael’s 31

After only a 23-21 halftime lead, the Class 4A Jags opened up a large margin in the third quarter with a 17-5 run against the 3A Lady Horsemen (5-9).

“Our guards did a good job of stopping them,” said Vigil. “The third quarter was our best quarter after we get give them a little speech.”

Comfortable with the 40-26 edge, Valencia did not score from the floor in the final period but hit seven free throws to put the game away.

Baeza led the scoring with 15 points, While Torres had eight and Dow scored seven.

Lorien Aragon had six points and Miranda Chavez and Savannah Stump scored three points each.

Torres had two 3-pointers, while Dow and Norene Archuleta added a trey apiece.

Vigil was pleased with how the Jaguars responded to the halftime talk.

“Just to challenge different people to step up,” said Vigil of the talk’s message, even with the big lead. “We just have them keep going.”

Elizabeth Serrano led St. Mike’s with nine points, and Christina Gabaldon had seven.


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