Rodriguez's free throws help BHS girls edge Patriots

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In the Belen High girls basketball team's 2012-13 victories, free throws have often helped them win, and that was the case in getting past Miyamura on Thursday.

Jordan Rodriguez's two foul shots in the closing seconds of the Lady Eagles' District 6-4A game helped seal Belen's 51-48 home victory over the Lady Patriots.

The Eagles, who are 7-10 overall and 1-2 in 6-4A, play 7 p.m. games against Valencia at home Saturday and on the road at Grants on Tuesday.

"Hopefully, we can come out really strong against Valencia," said Belen's first-year coach, Dereck Atencio. "They (VHS) does a great job of getting turnovers with their press, and we'll have to be prepared."

In getting their first-ever win over Miyamura, the Eagles were 10-of-14 from the foul line as a team. Belen had a lead of about 12 points in the fourth quarter, according to Atencio, but the Patriots (9-8, 1-2) buried some open looks from 3-point range to eventually pull to within 49-48.

Rodriguez was fouled, and the senior hit both her shots to force the visitors to set up a potential game-tying 3-point shot with a few seconds left in regulation. Atencio said the Eagles defended well on the play, and while Miyamura was able to launch a shot at the buzzer, it didn't draw iron.

Eagle sophomore point guard Mariah Forde had a game-high 23 points of the win, with much of her scoring from inside the paint.

"Watching the teams warm up before the game, I could see eye-to-eye with the Miyamura players, so this was one of the few games where we had a relatively good size matchup," said Atencio.

Kristian Sainz had one of her best games of the season, scoring 15 points, which Atencio said might be a season high. Sainz also won an important battle in the paint, Atencio said, getting Miyamura's Nicole Money in foul trouble.

Money fouled out with only seven points. The Pats were led by 18 points from Presleigh Smiley and 16 from Tamar King.

Belen only got one 3-pointer in the contest, from Kaylyn Gomez, while the Patriots hit six.

The Eagles moved their feet well on defense most of the night, Atencio said. Belen committed just nine fouls in the game, and Miyamura missed their only three foul shots of the night.

The win broke a string of 16 consecutive regular-season district losses for Belen since a February 2011 victory over Los Lunas.

Belen hosts Los Lunas on Friday, Feb. 8.


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