Spartans no match for Lady Warriors

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The Lady Warriors basketball team kept their early season momentum going on Friday night when they took care of the Bernalillo Spartans at home, 63-48. Socorro gained control in the second quarter with solid perimeter shooting, then simply powered past the visiting Spartans (0-3) to move to 2-0 on the season.

Jonathan Miller/El defensor Chieftain: Socorro’s Ashton Monette nails her second 3-pointer on Friday night against the Bernalillo Spartans. Monette scored 17 points in a Lady Warriors victory.

The Lady Warriors made things a little easier for themselves against Bernalillo after needing to come from behind in their season opener against Belen on Nov. 27. Socorro opened up as much as a 15-point lead on Friday, and after the middle of the third quarter the contest was never really in doubt.

The victory gives the Lady Warriors two consecutive victories over Class 4A opponents to begin the 2012-13 campaign.

“It’s huge to start off the season with two wins,” Socorro head coach Marleen Greenwood said. “It’s a great way to start, hopefully build some momentum and try to carry that on.”

The home team Warriors jumped out to a 10-2 first-quarter lead after Amber Willie hit a 10-foot jumper five minutes in, then took a 10-4 advantage into the second.

Bernalillo kept it close though, and Amanda Romero cut the Socorro lead to 17-13 after a fast-break layup with three minutes and 53 seconds remaining in the first half.

But senior guard Ashton Monette found her shooting rhythm, and she nailed consecutive 3-point shots from the baseline to push the Lady Warriors’ lead to nine. Junior Maria Alderete hit her own 3-pointer after an ensuing Spartans turnover, and Socorro took a 30-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.

In the third quarter, Socorro held the Bernalillo offense to just nine points to help it open up a 45-30 lead. Monette and senior Bryahna Baca both paced the Lady Warriors with five points each in the fourth quarter, and Socorro cruised to the 15-point win.

The larger margin of victory over a larger-school opponent may have come in light of the fact that the Lady Warriors showed improvement in some key areas on Friday that might not show up on a stat sheet, but make winning a bit easier.

Their perimeter passing showed improvement, they shot a bit more consistently from the floor and they managed to find their post players with more ease.

But there’s always room for improvement, and with just two games having elapsed thus far, there is plenty of time for this team to work and get better.

“We won by 15, but it was real ugly,” Greenwood said. “We had a hard time holding on to the ball, it seemed like. To me, we were about a second off on all of our entry passes. Our defense is our bread and butter and we never really got going on it. I think that was a big problem for us.”

After the Belen game, Greenwood had talked about her backcourt making more accurate passes into her post players. That seemed to work Friday as Baca scored 14 and Willie stepped in and played some big minutes, but Socorro’s guard play was a key factor. Monette finished with 17 points, Jeriana Contreras scored nine, Madeline Chavez came off the bench to score seven points and Dezirae Armijo finished with six.

The Lady Warriors had some younger players, Willie and Chavez, fill in and get the job done. Willie contributed two big early buckets and Chavez ran the point for an entire quarter.

“As a coach, I’m trying to find a happy medium so these younger kids get enough experience,” Greenwood said. “But we’ve still got these seniors who are obviously very talented.”

Socorro will play host to West Las Vegas on Dec. 11 before it travels to Hatch for its first road game on Dec. 18.