Lady Steers polish off East Mountain T’Wolves

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Against another team, it might have mattered.

Against East Mountain, it was just a meaningless statistic. The Magdalena girls basketball team missed seven layups in the second quarter — not counting putbacks — but that was after it established a comfortable cushion.

The Steers might have relaxed, but who could blame them? There wasn’t much to fret about in a 57-16 win over the Timberwolves on Saturday at Steers Gym. The win extended Magdalena’s winning streak to five.

Still, head coach Wally Sanchez, a perfectionist, was slightly irritated with the Steers missing bunnies. That, he said, comes down to focus, and it was something his team didn’t have for a full 32 minutes.

“They’re thinking, ‘Hey I’m gonna get two,’” Sanchez said. “You don’t think; you react. Right now that’s a bit of a problem. We’ve got people concerned about stats instead of reacting and just playing good, hard basketball.”

It wasn’t a matter of if; it was a matter of when the Steers decided to put together a concentrated effort. On Saturday, they decided to do so sooner rather than later, leading 18-0 after the first eight minutes.

The Steers dressed 14 players, including a handful of JVers, and 11 scored. Alicia Armijo led the way with 14 points. Keanda Chavez, meanwhile, couldn’t quite find her groove, unsettled by the decidedly chippy nature of Saturday’s contest.

For the T’Wolves, the frustration was palpable, and it threatened to explode into a toxic atmosphere.

Midway through the third quarter, T’Wolves guard Brianna Gurule nudged the Steers’ point guard in the back. Chavez, who had taken a couple nosedives to the floor previous to that, didn’t respond kindly to the elbow shiver. She retaliated by searching Gurule out and shoving her in the middle of the Steers’ offensive possession — unbeknownst to the officials, who were oblivious to the exchange and didn’t stop play to assign either player a technical.

Later on, Gurule was again involved in another physical exchange.

With 6:29 left in the fourth, she fouled freshman Breann Baca, sending her tumbling to the hardwood. Gurule offered her hand, but Baca refused it, slapping the floor in disgust.

Sanchez said the officials could have done a better job of managing the game.

“We’re up 20-30 points, and there were some fouls that both teams are committing,” he said. “You know, the whistle has to keep blowing no matter what the score is. Or else kids are going to get hurt, or people are going to get ticked off.”

Although the minutes couldn’t tick off the clock fast enough.

The T’Wolves kept it close enough to where the 35-point mandated running clock didn’t take effect till there was more than three and a half minutes left in the game.

That gave Keisha Chavez, Keanda’s younger sister, more time to score. The eight-grade floater made the most of her opportunities, scoring six points.

“She’s been living in the gym,” Sanchez said. “Her skills are just a little more polished than some.”

And the Steers, well, they were a lot more polished than the T’Wolves.

 


-- Email the author at iavilucea@dchieftain.com.