Magdalena girls beat Ramah in hard-fought contest

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The Magdalena girls basketball team earned a convincing and much-needed win over Ramah on Saturday as they beat the Mustangs 60-40.

Jonathan Miller/El Defensor Chieftain: Danielle Gordon goes up during the fourth quarter against Ramah for two of her 11 points on Saturday. Magdalena beat the visiting Mustangs 60-40.

The Steers had lost their previous three contests dating back to Dec. 15, including a 60-38 loss on the road against Tularosa on Friday night, and the victory over a good 2A squad in Ramah was exactly what Mag needed with the onset of league play coming up on Jan. 18.

The Steers improved to 6-4 on the season and Ramah dropped to 6-2.

Magdalena blew the game open in the fourth quarter after the Mustangs had battled back from a halftime deficit of 10, and a third-quarter deficit of 12. The Steers were up 33-21 with three minutes, 33 seconds left in the third when Ramah went on an eight-point run, capped off by a Jordyn Lewis four-point play. Ramah’s standout freshman guard averages close to 28 points per game, but the Steers’ defense held her to just 11 points on the night.

In the fourth quarter Magdalena junior Danielle Gordon scored six consecutive points for her team, and the Steers outscored Ramah 23-11 in the final period and cruised to the win.

“That’s a very good 2A team,” Mag head coach Wally Sanchez said of Ramah. “We were a little bit flat, but I thought tonight we came back against a good ball club and played some defense again and worked really hard.”

The Mustangs normally average around 55 points per game, but the Steers got back to what they’re best at on Saturday and played a stellar game on the defensive side of the ball.

“(Lewis) averages 27 (points) for Ramah;she had 11 tonight,” Sanchez said. “I thought we did a really good job at focusing on one and then taking care of the rest.”

The game was by no means in the bag in the early going. The two teams battled to a 12-12 tie after the first quarter and the Steers were up only eight points heading into the fourth. But Gordon caught fire and scored nine of her 11 points in the second half to help her team build a commanding 19-point lead with just less than three minutes left in the game. Where Ramah gave Magdalena all it could handle in the first three quarters, the young Steers came out in the fourth quarter like a team that refused to lose another game.

“They got tired of getting their lunch the last couple of games, so they really came out and worked,” Sanchez said.

“That’s the key. We just have to start working hard, handling the highs and lows and they did a super job tonight. We’re going to get better. It’s a young, young team. They went through a thing there. You’ve got to work your butt off to keep the tradition going on. They need to realize that.”

In addition to Gordon’s 11 points, Lanique Apachito also scored 11 while Shia Mexicano, Ashley Tafoya and Breann Baca all scored eight points. Keshia Chavez added six points.

Magdalena will participate in the Capitan tournament held Jan. 10 to Jan. 12 before they begin District 2/1A play on Jan. 18 at Desert Academy.