Lady Warriors beat Sundevils, fall to Tigers

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The week of Jan. 15 represented another taxing stretch for the Lady Warriors basketball team as it stared down a rematch with Sandia Prep, then traveled north to Albuquerque to play in the Hope Christian Invitational.

Jonathan Miller/El Defensor Chieftain: Amanda Saenz tries to dribble in between Los Lunas’ Tinaya Murphy and Nicole Hathoot on Thursday in Albuquerque. Saenz scored eight points for Socorro.

Socorro played four games in five days this week, and it started off on the right foot with a 46-39 win over the Sundevils (6-6) at home on Tuesday. It was the second time the Lady Warriors got the best of Sandia Prep this season.

Socorro improved to 8-9 on the season with the win.

The contest was all but deadlocked for most of the night, and Socorro took a 24-20 lead into the locker room at halftime. Both teams scored eight points in the third quarter, but the Lady Warriors stayed aggressive offensively in the fourth quarter, got to the free throw line and fought their way to the seven-point victory.

Finishing games strong has been somewhat of an issue for Socorro this season, so head coach Marleen Greenwood was glad to see her team put together four relatively complete quarters.

“I thought they did a good job of finishing,” she said. “We gave up some turnovers I wish we hadn’t, but they still stuck with it. Dezirae (Armijo) had some big steals that kept them out of their offensive flow.”

Bryahna Baca and Amanda Saenz both scored 14 points for the Lady Warriors, and Theresa Chavez had nine.

Breanna Abeita led Sandia Prep with 16 points.

On Thursday night, Socorro faced off against a stacked 4A Los Lunas team at Hope Christian High School, and the Tigers got the best of the Lady Warriors, 52-26.

Los Lunas moved to 11-2 this season with the win, while the loss dropped Socorro to 8-10.

In the first quarter the Tigers used their size in the post to overwhelm the Lady Warriors on both ends of the court. Teige Zeller and Katie Inman both stand more than 6-feet tall, and they used their stature wisely early on. Together they scored eight of Los Lunas’ 18 first-quarter points, while Socorro managed to put up just three.

“The first quarter we looked like deer in headlights,” Greenwood said. “The first five possessions we turned the ball over. I’m not so sure we didn’t take more than three shots. We really struggled offensively.”

The Lady Warriors regrouped a bit in the second quarter and allowed the Tigers just 13 points to their nine, but Los Lunas carried a 31-12 lead into halftime nonetheless.

Down 19 to a quality 4A opponent on the road, Socorro could have easily given up on the game. But the Lady Warriors came out of the locker room, began to execute a little bit on offense, take care of the ball and readjust on defense. Los Lunas, still with its starters in, managed just five points in the third quarter. Greenwood said after the Sandia Prep game she wanted to slow the Tigers down and take them out of their game, and for several minutes on Thursday Socorro did exactly that.

“Defensively we did a fair job,” Greenwood said. The Tigers still led 36-21 after the third quarter and they had no obvious intentions of calling off the dogs, so a Lady Warriors comeback might have been slightly out of the question. They kept fighting regardless, and even though Socorro didn’t leave the court victorious it still earned a few small victories.

“We boxed out their big girls as best we could. They didn’t get a whole bunch of easy layups, so for the most part I’m happy,” Greenwood said.

“We came out and put out a valiant effort. We did not let Los Lunas physically manhandle us tonight. We kind of handled the aggressiveness.”

Socorro has 10 days off before it travels to Santa Fe to play 10-9 St. Michael’s, then it begins district play at home against Hot Springs on Feb. 1.

Baca and Ashton Monette both scored eight points against Los Lunas, while Tinaya Murphy led the Tigers with 17.

For more coverage of this weekend’s tournament, read the Jan. 23 edition of El Defensor Chieftain.