Monday, January 16, 2012

No. 5 Lady Eagles may be gearing for another run, crush No. 9 Cruces

Clayton Jones/News-Sun
Hobbs' Mackenzie Latimer attempts a shot during
the No. 5 Lady Eagles' win over No. 9 Las Cruces
on Saturday at Las Cruces High School.
  With limited home games to watch the fifth-ranked Hobbs girls basketball team play, I'll admit I wasn't sure what to think of the Lady Eagles as they got off to a 9-7 start heading into a three-game-in-five-day stretch on Friday against Goddard.
  After all, Hobbs was a state semifinalist a year ago with a lot of the talent returning from that run yet was only two games over .500 – though it had ventured through an incredibly difficult schedule.
  While I still wasn't sure after Hobbs pounded a struggling Goddard squad on Friday, the Lady Eagles showed a lot by hitting the road and dominating ninth-ranked Las Cruces High 60-37 on the Lady Bulldawgs' court.
  Hobbs (now 11-7), led 47-13 after three quarters before letting off the gas some in the fourth. The Lady Eagles dominated ever facet of the game, particularly on the defensive end and on the boards. Hobbs' myriad of defensive sets led to Las Cruces being disorganized and unable to get into anything offensively.
  On the other end of the court, a trio of Hobbs posts along with a slashing guard dominated the Lady Bulldawgs.
  Posts senior Evyn Gallegos and sophomore Danielle Patterson each finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds while sophomore post Halle Woods had 13 points and six rebounds. The trio dominated on the inside, and as Casaus told me after the game, if the Lady Eagles had gone inside more it probably would've scored closer to 80 points on Las Cruces.
  Junior guard Mackenzie Latimer also played well, finishing with 15 points as she dribble penetrated the Las Cruces defense to either give herself an open look or set up a teammate for an easy bucket. If she continues to play like this along with fellow guards Lizzy Ramirez, Tesla Deberry, Tori Sanchez and Kennedy Sims to compliment Hobbs' strong post game, the Lady Eagles are going to once again be in the mix for a state title.
  Hobbs plays its third game in five days 7 p.m. Tuesday when the Lady Eagles host Class 4A No. 5 Roswell at Tasker Arena. The two teams have split a pair of games this season so this will be the rubber match. Hobbs lost to Roswell High 57-44 at a tournament in Rio Rancho but the Lady Eagles turned around and beat the Lady Coyotes four days later 52-32 in Roswell.
  If Hobbs can snag a win against a tough Roswell team Tuesday, the Lady Eagles may be on the start of a similar upswing as last season. Hobbs won the Holiday Hoopla Tournament in Las Cruces last season (Hobbs went 2-1 at the tournament this season), then after a loss to Lubbock Monterey, beat Goddard on Jan. 14, 2011, and won 13 games in a row before stubbing its toe and losing to eventual state champ Mayfield in the state semifinals.
  The talent, while somewhat young with several sophomores and juniors, is there for Hobbs to do the same – and to maybe even take the next step.