Los Lunas girls basketball began their district play strong with a 59-24 home win over Belen.
“We have a very talented team,” said Los Lunas head coach Marty Zeller. “We’ve got ball-handlers and we’ve got shooters. Now, we just need to improve our minds individually and collectively.”
The Lady Tigers (17-3, 2-0) set a steady pace to begin the game and finished the first half up 31-14. Their third quarter was perhaps their strongest as they outscored Belen 16-3, putting the game out of reach for the Lady Eagles (9-11, 1-1) with a 47-17 score heading into the fourth.
“They pressured us and made us rush things faster than we wanted to go,” said Belen head coach Richard Armijo. “We had trouble connecting our passes.”
Zeller credited the Lady Tigers’ strong defensive effort with the win as Los Lunas held Belen to only 10 points in the second half, and he believed that made up for their offensive struggles.
“Our offense was about as funky as it could be,” said Zeller. “Defense is what picked us up.”
Los Lunas sophomore Natalie Jojola led all scorers with 12 points. Senior Marissa Weldon and junior Dani Ross scored 11 and 10 points, respectively. Belen junior Janae Ornelas led the Lady Eagles with 10 points.
Armijo still has confidence in his team looking ahead to the final stretch of the season.
“As long as they’re happy and don’t lose heart, we can come back and perform better the next time,” said Armijo. “The coaching staff is going to have to figure out what kind of adjustments we need to make.”
Belen’s next game will be at home against St. Pius Friday.
The Lady Tigers look to maintain their top spot in 4A New Mexico girls basketball. Zeller is confident in his team’s ability against any opponent, and said the Lady Tigers have larger goals on their minds.
“We’re doing some things beyond the normal girls’ basketball team and want to reach a whole different level,” said Zeller. “That’s what the Los Lunas Lady Tigers are all about right now.”
On Tuesday, Los Lunas travelled to St. Pius and took down the Sartans in a 50-44 comeback victory.
Their next game will be when they host Grants at 7 p.m. Friday.
Valencia (2-18, 0-3) fell 36-21 in a district home game against St. Pius on Friday. The Lady Jags travelled to Grants on Tuesday and fell to the Lady Pirates 54-30. Their next game will be when they travel to Santa Fe Indian at 7 p.m. Friday.