Lady Jags get revenge; down Grants, 49-33

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After Saturday's District 6-4A girls basketball action, the Valencia Jaguars are one step closer to a couple of goals that could lead them on another deep state playoff run and the Pit, in March.

First, the Jags took care of some business, avenging a 44-40 loss to Grants a couple of weeks ago on their home court. This time, Valencia got balanced scoring in all quarters and hit crucial free throws on the way to a 49-33 win over the Pirates on their home court.

Second, Los Lunas lost at Gallup, opening the door for Valencia to possibly win the district crown when they face the Tigers in the regular-season finale at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Valencia was set to host Belen, while Los Lunas was slated to host Miyamura on Tuesday in games that started after News-Bulletin press time.

Los Lunas (20-4 overall) led the district after Saturday's games with a 7-1 record. Valencia (18-6) is second with a 6-2 mark. Gallup (5-3) is also in the district mix with a 5-3 record.

The contest Saturday was close at the half, thanks to Valencia turning the ball over 16 times. Valencia led 15-14.

"(In) the first half, we had no energy or passion," said VHS coach Shannon Vigil. "We were just going through the motions. Grants did a great job of converting a lot of our mistakes into points."

The scoring troubles did not continue through the second half as the Jags put up 19 points in the third and 15 in the fourth.

"We picked up our energy in the second half and that made all the difference," said Vigil. "We knew we had the advantage over Grants in the post area."

Brenda Baeza scored 14 points and Miranda Chavez had 13 points. Brianna Fank led Grants with 14 points.

"Brenda and Miranda did a great job inside for us," said Vigil. "We also knocked down our free throws."

Valencia shot 18-of-26 from the line, while Grants was 4-of-16.

Karina Dow scored 10, including a 3-pointer, and Tori Torres hit two treys for six points.

Valencia finished strong, outscoring Grants, 15-5, in the final quarter. It was a far cry from the blown lead on Jan. 31, when the Pirates outscored Valencia 13-1 in the fourth quarter at VHS. 

"We learned from last time we played Grants," said Vigil. "We knew we had to score consistently each quarter, and shoot better from the foul line."


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