Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lea County girls basketball teams advance in different fashions

Clayton Jones/News-Sun
Tatum's Devanne Sours goes up for a shot
against McCurdy on Friday in Tatum.
  The three Lea County girls basketball teams that made it to their respective classification's state tournament – Hobbs, Lovington and Tatum – all advanced in different fashions Friday night.
  Hobbs, the fifth seed in Class 5A, jumped out to a 28-14 lead on No. 12 Oñate and looked primed to run the Lady Knights out of the gym in the second half.
  Instead, Hobbs struggled to put Oñate away and had to hold off the Lady Knights 48-43. The Lady Eagles were far from pleased with their effort and know they will have to play better to beat No. 4 Mayfield 9:45 a.m. Tuesday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.
  Lovington, the 12th seed in 3A, was the underdog against No. 5 Shiprock but managed to build a 16-point lead in the second half before the Lady Chiefs chipped away at the lead thanks to its 3-point shooting.
  At one point Shiprock took a one-point lead. However, Lovington didn't crumble and quickly took the lead back for good to pull off the upset 46-42 and advance to face No. 4 St. Michael's 11:30 a.m. at The Pit in Albuquerque in the quarterfinals.
  If this seems familiar, the Lady Wildcats in 2008 advanced to the state semifinals as a No. 12 seed. It was a great sign to see Lovington not fall apart after Shiprock made a run and take a quick lead. I think many knew Lovington was better than a 12th seed (including yours truly in this blog - trying not to hurt myself patting myself on the back) and now the Lady Wildcats are playing with house money and have nothing to lose. I'm sure St. Mike's isn't happy about facing them.
  As for Tatum, the No. 2 seed in Class 1A, it dominated No. 15 McCurdy on its way to an 80-50 win (a season high in points).
  Unfortunately for the Lady Coyotes, leading scorer Monica Ramirez was hurt early in the second quarter (knee injury) and her status for the rest of the tournament is uncertain. While Tatum is one of the few teams in Class 1A that have enough depth to still be a solid team without Ramirez, her ability to score and rebound will be missed if she's unable to play 3 p.m. Tuesday against No. 7 Logan in the state quarterfinals at Bernalillo High School.
  Then again, this might be something Tatum can rally around. I doubt Logan is going to take the Lady Coyotes lightly.