Socorro wins rematch against Ruidoso

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It’s a plausible claim that nearly every basketball coach understands the importance of peaking at the right time during any given season. The way the Lady Warriors are playing recently, it looks like head coach Marleen Greenwood has her squad playing its best ball heading into the final weeks of the 2012-2013 campaign.

Photos by Jonathan Miller/El Defensor Chieftain: Socorro’s Amanda Saenz pressures Ruidoso’s Lyndsey Saenz at midcourt on Tuesday during the Lady Warriors’ 54-40 win. Saenz had 12 points for Socorro.

After blowing by Hot Springs and Cobre last week, Socorro handed Ruidoso (8-11) a 54-40 loss on Tuesday at home. The win for the Lady Warriors avenged a 68-60 loss to RHS on Jan. 11.

Even though it wasn’t a league victory, it got Socorro to 11-11 on the year, and at this point impressing the pollsters can be integral to a team’s postseason positioning.

“At this point in time, obviously we’re talking about standings and rankings statewide,” Greenwood said.

“We’re trying to prepare to hopefully win district and go into the state tournament. It was essential we beat Ruidoso so we have some type of standing going into the postseason.”

Against Ruidoso, Socorro found itself in a 13-2 hole early on. But the Lady Warriors closed the first quarter on a 10-2 run, then kept that momentum for the remainder of the half.

Bryahna Baca scored three straight points in the second to give her team a 17-15 lead, then Ashley Pyke stole the ball at midcourt and scored a fast-break layup to make the score 19-15.

Socorro led by as much as seven in the first half and had a 27-23 lead going into the locker room.

With two minutes left in the third quarter the Lady Warriors built their lead to 37-27 when Maria Alderete nailed consecutive shots from 14 feet, then Dezirae Armijo hit a 3-pointer 20 seconds later to push the score to 42-27.

Ruidoso went on a 13-6 spurt in the fourth quarter to cut the Socorro lead to 48-40 with 3 minutes and 30 seconds remaining, but those were the last points it would score on the evening. The Lady Warriors scored the game’s final six points on their way to the win.

For Greenwood’s team, the victory represented the progress Socorro has made in just the past five weeks.

The defense is swarming, the press is increasingly effective, and the girls are passing the ball intelligently and with confidence. Their latest win may not have been perfect, and Greenwood pointed out her team turned the ball over too many times, but their ability to break the press and turn transition basketball into points was a key to Tuesday’s win.

The Lady Warriors are also sharing the ball as three players scored in double digits and seven scored at least one bucket. Armijo and Amanda Saenz both scored 12 points, Baca added 10 and Theresa Chavez and Maria Alderete had eight and six points, respectively.

Socorro is now in the midst of a three-game win streak and it’s certainly capable of finishing out the remainder of the season strong.

“To finish the season, it would be nice to go on a 7-0 run,” Greenwood said. “(The Ruidoso win) was big, and hopefully we can continue that momentum heading into Silver.

“We’ve talked about the handful of games we’ve lost by seven points or less. They’ve really taken hold of trying to work hard and really putting it all together. I think it shows in their play.”

Socorro will finish out the season with a road game at Robertson on Feb. 12, then it will travel south to Truth or Consequences for a District 3-3A rematch with Hot Springs on Feb. 19. The Lady Warriors’ final game of the regular season will be at home Feb. 22 when they play host to Silver.