Valencia dusts Academy at home

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Coach Shannon Vigil has been concerned all season about the Jaguars’ effort on Valencia’s home court, saying that Valencia is a better road team.

But the concerns were pretty much erased in a dominant 51-19 win over Albuquerque Academy in the first round of the Class 4A state championships Friday night in front of a sparse, but vocal home crowd.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Valencia guard Savannah Stump shoots for two during Friday night’s home win over Albuquerque Academy, 51-19.

The No. 6 seed Jags held Academy to just two points in each of the final two quarters.

“We started a little slow, but we played much better defense tonight,” said Vigil, noting the reason for the comfortable win against the No. 11 seed Chargers.

Valencia (20-8) faced No. 3 Santa Fe (24-3) right at the News-Bulletin press time. For the game results, go to www.news-bulletin.com.

All of the complete details of Tuesday’s game will be in the Saturday, March 16, edition of the News-Bulletin, as will the possible meeting with either Gallup or Roswell in the state semifinal slated for 1:15 p.m. on Thursday at the Pit.

“This is what it is all about. We wanted to get back to the Pit again this year and not a lot of people expected us to get there,” said Vigil. “I think that not a lot of people have really paid attention to us. We will have some things to show them in the Pit.”

Roswell eliminated Valencia last year on the way to finishing second in the state. Their 51-50 overtime win was one of the best games at the 2012 state tournament.

On Friday, Valencia led 13-8 at the end of the first quarter against Academy and held a 20-15 edge at the half before out-scoring Academy 31-4 in the second half.

The Jags had nine players score, led by Savannah Stump with 14 points. Brenda Baeza and Karina Dow scored eight for the Jags.

“I haven’t been to the Pit, so this is really exciting for me,” said Dow, a transfer student from Belen. “I can’t wait.”

The quick guard was more pleased with the defensive effort than the scoring.

“We played really good defense and that is what got our offense going,” said Dow.

Senior Tori Torres wanted the return trip to the University of New Mexico floor.

“It means a lot to be going back to the Pit,” said Torres. “After last year, we want to get back and do better than we have before.”

She explained that the Jags have grown close during the season.

“We are playing as a team and that makes all of the difference in the world,” said Torres. “Nothing comes between us.”


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