VHS girls give Lady Braves a battle; will host West Mesa, and then Gallup

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While the Valencia High girls basketball team didn't make quite the statement it wanted to make Monday, the Lady Jaguars still made noise.

The noise from their 40-32 road loss at Santa Fe Indian School makes it sound like the Jaguars are improving as district play approaches. Facing one of the top Class 3A teams, the 4A Jaguars overcame a sluggish third quarter to hold the hosts to three points in the final period, but couldn't pull close enough at the end.

Valencia (10-4 after Monday) was set to play at Atrisco Heritage Academy on Tuesday after News-Bulletin press time. The Jags are set to host West Mesa at 7 p.m. Thursday, and open district play when Gallup visits VHS on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

"We played really good defense," said VHS coach Shannon Vigil by phone after Monday's game. "But I think having more than a week off kind of hurt us. We usually have strong third quarters, and tonight, we didn't. That really killed our chances."

Valencia trailed the defending 3A state finalist Braves (14-1) only 23-18 at halftime, but had fallen behind by a 37-23 score by the end of the third quarter.

"They pressed us, and got some turnovers out of it," said Vigil. "And they are kind of tall. We didn't really get much production out of our posts."

Karina Dow led the Lady Jags with nine points, while Savannah Stump had eight. Dow had one of Valencia's two 3-pointers.

Santa Fe Indian's Justina Coriz had all three of the Braves' 3-pointers, along with a game-high 13 points. Jennifer Willie and Danielle Nelson each added 10.

Valencia made an impressive six of their 10 free throws, but the hosts made nine of their 10. Only 19 combined fouls were called — and only seven against the Jaguars.

Los Lunas lost at SFIS on Jan. 8 by a 41-33 score.

The Jags would be heavy favorites to beat both Atrisco and West Mesa, but Gallup is one of the top teams in 4A. Valencia managed to use its 2011-12 veteran lineup to get a milestone win over the Lady Bengals at VHS last season.


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