Eagles Aloft

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The Belen girls basketball team is 2-0 early in the season after defeating Albuquerque Academy and Socorro at home in their first two games of the season.

On Saturday, the Eagles got a double-double from junior guard Mariah Forde and out-scored the Chargers in the final three quarters to begin the season with a 40-30 win against Academy.

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: BELEN’S MARIAH FORDE, right, steals the ball away from Socorro’s Gaby Alvarado during the Eagles’ 52-16 win Tuesday night.

On Tuesday night, the Eagles held the Lady Warriors to one point in the second quarter on their way to a dominating 52-16 victory.

“We got two good wins against teams that were both state qualifiers last year,” said Belen coach Dereck Atencio. “Academy’s tough because they don’t make mistakes. Socorro is tough because they have such a tradition and they have great interior play.

“So both games help up see where we’re at and see what we have to improve on,” he said.

On Saturday, Forde scored 12 points, pulled in 11 rebounds, had six assists and went 4-of-6 from the free-throw line in the win. Senior forward Kristian Sainz added seven points and seven rebounds while junior guard Kaylyn Gomez added 10 points, going 2-of-4 from behind the three-point line.

Academy came out to a 13-12 lead in the first quarter but was held to single-digit scoring the rest of the way as Belen slowly increased their advantage.

Up 21-19 at halftime, the Eagles sealed the win with a 19-point effort in the second half and only allowing the Chargers to score four points in the fourth quarter.

“We were able to get some good rebounds, some steals, and some transition looks that we were able to convert,” Atencio said of the effort Saturday night. “A team like Academy, they don’t give you much. So you have to capitalize on it.”

On Tuesday, Forde scored 15 points and junior guard Alexis Begay added eight points as Belen ran out to a 19-6 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Applying an impressive amount of defensive pressure on the overmatched Lady Warriors, the Eagles led 34-7 at halftime

Socorro (0-2) went nearly 11 minutes of the first half without scoring and went the entire second quarter without hitting a field goal.

Belen opened the second half on an 8-2 run before subbing in their reserves and slowing the tempo on offense.

The Jaguars defeated the Sundevils 77-45 at Sandia Prep in Albuquerque on Saturday to begin the season, but lost on the road at Albuquerque St. Pius 50-44 Tuesday night, also in Albuquerque.

The Valencia boys began the season Tuesday night at home against Hot Springs but a score was not available at News-Bulletin deadline Wednesday.