Lady Warriors take Robertson, lose at Pit

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When the Lady Warrior varsity basketball team wrote their "I am" goals earlier this year, they were serious. Each player wrote "I am going to play in the Pit." They said it, and they meant it.

The Lady Warriors were escorted out of town by local and state law enforcement on Friday as they headed to Las Vegas to play the Robertson Cardinals in the fist round of the 2013 State Basketball Tournament.

The first quarter was slow to start as neither team demonstrated dominance at the beginning of the game; the score was tied 4-4 with almost three minutes drained out of the first quarter. However, it was at this point that the Lady Warriors would climb ahead and never look back.

Socorro's defense began thwarting Robertson's efforts as they began to force Robertson to turn over the ball. Theresa Chavez picked off a pass, drove the ball down the court and later fouled for Robertson's second team foul. She split the free throws and put the Lady Warriors up by one.

"Their defense was a huge factor in the contest as they forced Robertson to dribble with their left, making it impossible to use their dominate hand," Coach Marleen Greenwood said.

Even Socorro's fan club in attendance took a more active position as they chanted "defense" in support of their team.

Ashton Monette stole the ball and dished it to Amanda Saenz: Saenz shot the ball, but it danced around the rim and landed out, but was fouled again. Saenz made both free throws, putting the Lady Warriors up 7-4 with 4 minutes remaining in the first quarter.

When Robertson's Abbey Bradley set an illegal pick that returned the ball to Socorro, Monette fed the ball to Ashley Pyke, who was fouled when she went up for two with 1:01 left in the quarter.

Chavez threw up a shot at the buzzer that the official signaled no good, but Socorro fans agreed otherwise.

Erica Herrera's drive to the basket to start the second quarter was shut down by Chavez, who tied the ball up that gave possession back to Socorro. This gave Dezirae Armijo the opportunity for her first 3-point goal that gave the Lady Warriors a 15-10 lead.

Pyke received a pass from Armijo and drove it in for a layup, putting the Lady Warriors up 23-14. Pyke was then injured as she tried to take advantage of the front court defensive pressure of her team when she tried to intercept a pass.

Robertson was continuing to succumb to Socorro's defensive pressure as Bryhana Baca single-handedly spoiled a two-on-one situation, causing the Cardinals to turn over the ball at halftime with Socorro maintaining a lead of 26-18.

"They did what they meant to do … and stayed committed to make it (the defense) work," Greenwood said as they held leading scorers Bradley and Montoya to only 12 and 11 points respectively.

The Cardinals' Bradley opened up the third quarter with a 2-point jumper, and her teammate Santana Aragon chimed in for another three points, but Robertson still trailed Socorro 26-23. Then when Chavez intercepted the ball and stepped out of bounds, Bradley once again added two points to the scoreboard. But this would be the closest to Socorro that Robertson would come at 26-25 with 3:16 left in the third quarter.

Then Chavez drove the ball baseline for a reverse layup and was fouled by Heather Aragon, who received a technical foul when she disagreed with the official. Chavez made both the foul violation and the technical foul free throws, increasing the lead 32-25.

Saenz beat Robertson's full court pressure and passed to Armijo, who drove to the basket, put up the shot and was fouled. With 1:36 minutes left in the third quarter, the Lady Warriors were up 10 with a score of 35-25.

Pyke passed the ball to Chavez, who then passed the ball to Saenz, who drained a 3-pointer with 1:08 left, bringing the score to 38-25.

Monette opened up the fourth quarter, making two big plays for five points when she put away a 2-pointer, and then again when Socorro recovered possession from a ball knocked out of bounds. This gave her time to reloaded her 3-point gun, putting Socorro ahead even more, 43-31.

Robertson's Bradley hit again for two that brought the Cardinals within nine. But a pump fake by Brianna Baca left the Cardinals flying by as she eased in a banked shot, bringing back up the score to 51-40 with 2:44 left.

Chavez and Baca then challenged Robertson to two on two that the Lady Warriors won, and secured the Warriors' success of playing in the Pit to 54-42.

As the Lady Warriors began milking the clock, Pyke was fouled by Chaylene Sena and made one of two free throws.

Kendra Montoya, of Robertson, threw up a 3-pointer, bringing the score to 57-46 with under a minute left to go. But Socorro's Saenz sunk two free throws when she was fouled by Bradley that sealed Socorro's victory and realized their dream to play at the University of New Mexico's Pit.

This was truly a team effort as Baca contributed nine points, Armijo 11, Saenz 10, Monette seven, Chavez was the leading scorer with 14 and Pyke chipped in eight points.

The Lady Warriors played in the University of New Mexico Pit at 8 a.m. Tuesday against Hope Christian High School, but lost 66-29.