A win in the 2020 NMAA State Championships was not in the cards as the seventh ranked Socorro Lady Warriors were upset in the first round against the Robertson Lady Cardinals 54-38 during its final home game of the season.
“We lost, simple as that,” Warriors Head Coach Lawrence Baca said. “We didn’t handle the pressure well as a team. Basketball is a team sport. We went in with a game plan and we didn’t execute tonight.”
After an early lead the Lady Warriors found themselves in a quick 7-4 hole in the first quarter, forcing Coach Baca to call an early timeout to regroup. After the break, sophomore guard Lukisha Ganadonegro was able to close the gap to within three before Robertson made another run to be up 15-8 after the first quarter.
Junior Tarah Apachito was not pleased with the Lady Warriors first round exit to close out the season.
“They got in our heads,” she said. “They started pushing us around and the crowd got out of it because of our slow start. We started giving up and every little mistake became bigger as the game wore on. This loss is tough, but I still wouldn’t change being a part of this team for anything.”
The Lady Warriors kept things within a fighter’s chance during the second quarter. Seniors Elysia Gutierrez and Taelene Fowler hit multiple big shots from the outside as they refused to give up early.
“We played one hell of a game,” Fowler said. “We didn’t get the outcome that we expected but we fought hard. Our team could have worked harder at times this season but we always battled. It is going to take a while before this bad taste is out of my mouth.”
It was 32-18 at the half and Robertson never let up. The Lady Cardinals missed a few easy buckets after the break but their overall height advantage took the game over against a scrappy Socorro squad. Apachito was able to bring things back down to single digits with a clutch shot late before Robertson went hot from the three point line. Robertson Head Coach Jose Medina was pleased to escape the first round road test with a win.
“We played Socorro earlier in the year fortunately,” Medina said. “Watching film and scouting this team helped us. The key for us today is that we came out with a lot of energy and took it hard to the hole, particularly in the second half. We were able to get to the free throw line as well as make some shots. We made Socorro play out of its element which will help us against opponents coming up.”
With the Lady Warriors season over, the 3A State Championships have Robertson going up against the two seeded Tularosa Lady Wildcats. Top seeded Navajo Prep Lady Eagles are still the prohibitive favorites with just two losses on the season.