Mag girls lose in second round

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The Magdalena girls basketball team was eliminated in the second round of the state tournament by the Lady Longhorns, 57-39, in Bernalillo on Tuesday. The Logan girls then went on to defeat perennial powerhouse Cliff 63-62, and will take on Melrose in the tournament’s final game in the Pit on Saturday.

Logan outscored Magdalena in the first three quarters, 14-5, 12-9 and 12-7. Magdalena, which has been a “fourth quarter team” this season, did win the fourth quarter battle, 18-17, but lost by a substantial margin of 16 points. The surge in the fourth quarter had become a signature for the Lady Steers. In the last nine games they outscored everyone by large margins.

“The kids never quit all year, not during district, and not against Logan — they never quit,” Magdalena coach Wally Sanchez said. “It doesn’t surprise me having a quarter like that. This time it was a little bit too late. Logan is a good basketball team.”

The Magdalena girls got off to a bad start. In the first quarter alone Logan forced nine turnovers, which in turn robbed the Lady Steers of nine shots. Magdalena couldn’t get their offense running, they weren’t getting good looks and it seemed that they were trying to force things. There was a time that they tried to dribble through three people to get to the post. Then there was the instance that they tried to pass the ball to the wing through three people.

“We started off not making good decisions and it just snowballed from there,” Sanchez said. “The turnovers were because of us. We were just a little bit nervous, I guess. Not getting nine shots, of course you’re going to fall in the hole. We weren’t being patient. It had more to do with not executing, not coming out ready to play. Then you have to give credit to them, they have a really great guard.”

Sanchez was referring to the 5-foot-5 Logan senior guard Whitney Cordova, wearing jersey No. 14, who inflicted the most damage. She averaged 17.6 points per game this season.

“We didn’t really have an answer for her. We picked her up full court, we double teamed her, sometimes we even triple teamed her, she’s just an excellent basketball player.”

Cordova continually broke the Magdalena press, penetrated the half court defense and was able to dump off to her big people inside. The Logan girls hit the boards real hard.

“I felt they were more aggressive than us, on the boards and on defense. All these little things that we’re talking about add up,” Sanchez said.

After the game, in the locker room, Sanchez said that he decided not to talk about the Logan game but instead about the body of work the team could look to in the season past.

“I told them they had a great season,” Sanchez said. “They started out on fire, then went into a slump, but they continued to come back. They ended up being regular season champions, they were district champions, they won 21 or 22 games for the 10th year in a row. The last thing I talked about was anything negative that happened to us in the last game at state. We had a great season. That’s what we talked about”

Only seniors Montoya and Clarissa Gomez will be gone from next year’s Magdalena team, which leaves them with a solid core of players for next year.

“We’re always going to have good basketball players,” Sanchez said. “Whether we lose two or seven seniors, the kids here in Magdalena will always step up and compete.”

Magdalena’s continuous excellent basketball program is a credit to coach Sanchez who is primarily responsible for building and maintaining it.