WEB EXCLUSIVE: Jaguar girls dispatch Del Norte from state hoops tourney

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TOMÉ - Fans of the sixth-seeded Valencia girls basketball team shifted in their seats nervously after the first quarter of the Jaguars’ first round Class 4A State Tournament game against visiting Del Norte Friday night.

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: VALENCIA STUDENT Gabe Perea, left, high fives the Jaguars' Lorien Aragon after Valencia's win Friday at Valencia High School in the first round of the Girls Class 4A State Tournament

But by the end, they were standing while some students raced onto the court when the Jags completed their 42-21 win over the 13th-seeded Lady Knights.
The win allowed Valencia to move on to the quarterfinals, where the Jags took on third-seeded St. Pius X. The Jags would avenge their first loss of the season, which came to the Lady Sartans, with a 61-53  win Tuesday morning. You can read about the VHS-Pius game later today and about the Jags’ semifinal game against Santa Fe  online here at www.news-bulletin.com Friday or read about the games in our print edition next Thursday.
On Friday, the gritty Jaguars broke open a tight, defensive battle by outscoring the Lady Knights 17-7 in the second quarter then held Del Norte to just 10 second-half points to win and advance to Tuesday’s quarterfinals.
“We were getting shots that first part of the game but they were in-and-out,” said Valencia coach Manuel Vigil, specifically praising sophomore center Raeanne Herrera, who provided his team with a critical spark in the second quarter.
“She was huge,” he said of the post’s six points. “(But( the key to the game was keeping Elise Medina to three points.”
Valencia (22-7) limited Medina, the Knights leading scorer, to one field goal and one free throw made for the game.
“I think she was frustrated,” said Jaguar freshman guard Geneya Sanchez. “Our goal was to not let her touch the ball. We practiced defense two hours a day during practice (last week).”
The Jags’ junior post Miranda Chavez scored a game-high 13 points while Del Norte (15-12) was paced by Mireya Mendoza’s eight points.
Guards Karina Dow and Lorien Aragon each added eight points for Valencia.
“They played good defense overall,” said Del Norte coach David Medina. “We had some looks but we just didn’t make the plays today.”
The Jaguars trailed 4-3 after one quarter but took the lead shortly after the beginning of the second quarter and had increased their advantage to 20-11 by halftime. Valencia outscored the Knights 9-4 in the third quarter, choking off Del Norte’s chance at a comeback immediately by starting the second half with a 6-0 run.
“We worked a lot on execution (last week), said Chavez. “Just run the offense, be patient, and don’t make mistakes. (On defense) we just tried to set up and get the stop or a steal then outlet the ball and just go.”

No. 6 VALENCIA 42, No. 11 DEL NORTE 21
Girls Class 4A State Basketball Tournament, First round

Del Norte    4     7    4     6 = 21
Valencia    3    17    9    13 = 42
Scoring
VALENCIA (22-7): Karina Dow 8, Lorien Aragon 8, Geneya Sanchez 2, Brenda Baeza 2, Miranda Chavez 13, Savannah Stump 3, Raeanne Hererra 6. Totals: 13-FG 16-20 FT 42
DEL NORTE (15-12) Mireya Mendoza 8, Elise Medina 3, Frenchesca Baca 1, Marissa Gutierrez 2, Shelby Harrison 1, Leonardine John 2, Tessa Schwalm 4. Totals: 8-FG 5-10
3-point FGs: V 2 (Aragon, Stump); DN 0
Team Fouls: V 13; DN 16.
Tech. fouls: n/a
Fouled out: DN, Medina.

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