WEB EXCLUSIVE: Los Lunas girls begin defense of state hoops title with win
LOS LUNAS – The top-seeded Los Lunas girls began their defense of the Class 4A girls state basketball championship with a with a strong showing Friday night.
The Tigers got another big night from Nevada-bound senior post Teige Zeller as well as junior guard Elise Tapia to dispatch 16th-seeded Kirtland Central 69-52 Friday night.
With the win, Los Lunas earned a spot in the state quarterfinals, where they defeated district foes Miyamura 60-43 Tuesday afternoon.
Los Lunas advanced to play district foes Gallup for the fourth time this season in today’s semifinals at 1:15 p.m in The Pit. Coverage of that story will also be online Friday at www.news-bulletin.com. Coverage of all the Tigers’ state tourney games will also bein next week’s print edition of the News-Bulletin.
On Friday, Zeller scored 14 of her game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter to quell a comeback by the Lady Broncos, who rallied from a 40-22 halftime deficit to cut the Tigers’ advantage to 49-39 going into the fourth quarter.
“Teige got her third foul in the third quarter so we had to pull her out and things got a little funky,” said LLHS coach Marty Zeler. “The girls weren’t on the same page.”
The Tigers shot 7-of-12 from the 3-point line in the first half but had troubles finding the range in the third quarter, Coach Zeller said. But the team found its rhythm again in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
Coach Zeller had high praise for Tapia, who added 12 points, as well as her fellow bench players Cera Chavez and Jordan Holland, who added nine and seven points, respectively.
Kirtland Central (10-19) was paced by Orquidea Reyes, who scored 10 points.
Class 4A first round
Los Lunas 69 Kirtland Central 52
KIRTLAND CENTRAL (10-19) Hope Tsosie 5, Taylor Miller 3, Deiondra Smith 6, Orquidea Reyes 10, Megan Silversmith 8, Shamika Benally 8, Keeshana Ockerman 9, Krystal Sheka 6.
LOS LUNAS (25-4) Alyssa Vigil 8, Kaitlyn Thompson.6, Jordan Holland 7, Cera Chavez 9, Elise Tapia 12, Teige Zeller 27.
Kirtland Central 9 13 13 17—52
Los Lunas 20 20 9 20—69