Lady Eagles forge strong second half in road loss

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For most Lady Eagle basketball fans, playing defending Class 4A champion Gallup within 10 points — on the road — would be better than expected.

But in Friday's 63-53 loss, Belen had two troublesome trends continue — they struggled to score in the first quarter, and they did not hit a 3-pointer.

Belen (6-10, 0-2) will try to correct both of those trends when they host Miyamura (9-7, 1-1) at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

The Eagles are also scheduled to host Valencia (14-4, 2-0) at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Belen has gone 18 quarters since hitting its last 3-point shot.

"We have good shooters taking good shots," said BHS coach Dereck Atencio. "In baseball, sometimes you have a hitting slump, we are just in a 3-point-shooting slump."

Gallup (13-4, 1-1) grabbed hold of the District 6-4A contest early, racing out to a 19-6 lead after the first quarter.

"I think there are a lot of contributing factors," said Atencio. "You are in Gallup, and the stands are almost full by halfway through the JV game. They are a ranked team. The teams we have started poorly against are all ranked teams. I think we need to stop looking at the name on the front of their jersey, and we would be a lot better off."

Gallup led 29-15 at halftime. Belen scored 38 points in the second half but could not overcome the early Bengal advantage.

Mariah Forde led the Eagles with 18 points and Destinee Vigil scored 15.

The silver lining to the 0-2 district cloud is that Belen might have already played its two toughest 6-4A road games.

It gets a little easier this week as they will play in front of the home fans.

"They are a good team, very fast," Atencio said of Miyamura.

The county rivalry with Valencia is renewed, and Atencio expects a tough game Saturday as well.

"Shannon has done a great job of building a program," he said. "They are a tough team."


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