Mag girls take first tournament game

........................................................................................................................................................................................

Magdalena's girls basketball coach Wally Sanchez has led the Class 1A Lady Steers to yet another winning season, which has become the norm for him.

He did this while scheduling and playing mostly Class 2, 3 and 4A teams and with having only two seniors on the team to boot. Their last nine consecutive wins were by unbelievably large margins. Then on Friday, on their home court, the Magdalena girls got off to an optimistic start in the first round of the state tournament, defeating a tough Animas team, 45-38.

"They had good athletes and they came ready to play," Sanchez said of the Animas girls. "They played as tough as any team we've played all year. But in the end our kids did an excellent job. They took good shots, they made their free throws and they ran their offense. And they did it by doing an excellent job of keeping their composure."

The Lady Steers led 20-18 at the half and outscored their opponents by two and three points respectively in the last two quarters.

Junior Ashley Montoya led the scoring for Magdalena with 17 points. Danielle Gordon scored eight points, Keshia Chavez scored six and Lanique Apachito and Nicah Montoya each scored four points. Kadie Keihne and Breann Baca each scored three and Clarissa Gomez scored two points. Coach Sanchez was quick to brag on all of his girls, pointing out on any given night a different girl is likely to step up for the team to score the most points.

Come state tournament time coach Sanchez's teams have always been a force to be taken seriously. Stressing fundamentals and making sure deserving girls get a chance to attend summer basketball camps, Sanchez knows how to prepare a team to play in state championship tournaments. Year in and year out his girls are consistently good at shooting free throws. Strength of schedule and overpowering wins earned the Lady Steers a well deserved three seed in this year's state tournament.

"Right now the girls may be pretty young, but they're well seasoned," Sanchez said.

The Lady Steers were scheduled to play the second round at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Bernalillo against Logan.