Bears get cru­cial road win in 2-5A

La Cueva girls stay in hunt in district

Albuquerque Journal - - COLLEGE BASKETBALL - BY MATT HOLLINSHEAD FARM­ING­TON DAILY TIMES Jour­nal Staff Writer James Yodice con­trib­uted to this story.

FARM­ING­TON — All the par­ity seen in the District 2-5A girls bas­ket­ball race took yet an­other crazy turn on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

La Cueva, lan­guish­ing in fourth place in the district, kept it­self in the hunt for a solid seed at the district tour­na­ment as the fourth-ranked Bears, with some key de­fen­sive stops, took down No. 7 Farm­ing­ton 67-59 at Scor­pion Arena.

The re­sult turns 2-5A, the state’s most com­pet­i­tive girls league, into more of a free-forall for the top spot, as four of the five squads — Piedra Vista, West Mesa, Farm­ing­ton and La Cueva — are within two games of each other. This com­ing week, both Piedra Vista, on Tues­day, and Farm­ing­ton, on Satur­day, will be in Al­bu­querque to take on West Mesa. And the Scor­pi­ons and PV still have one more game against each other.

“It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing. Ev­ery night is a bat­tle,” said La Cueva ju­nior point guard Kaya In­gram, who scored 22 points. “One team’s beat­ing an­other, and that team’s beat­ing an­other. We’ve just got to come strong in these next few games to get our record up, and I think we’ll be good.”

La Cueva dropped three of its first four district games, in­clud­ing losses to Farm­ing­ton, West Mesa and Piedra Vista. Ear­lier this week, the Scor­pi­ons beat Piedra Vista to cre­ate a three-way tie for first with West Mesa.

Then came Satur­day. “Ev­ery night is a bat­tle in this district. It’s bru­tal,” La Cueva coach Robert Perea said. “We ab­so­lutely needed this game, for sure.”

La Cueva with­stood pen­e­tra­tion by Farm­ing­ton in the open­ing min­utes, dis­rupt­ing the Scor­pi­ons’ ball move­ment when they slashed in com­ing from the outer wings.

After Farm­ing­ton se­nior post Jordan Vasquez started bat­ter­ing them in the paint by the fourth quar­ter, the Lady Bears switched from their full-court, high-pres­sure man de­fense to a 2-3 zone to limit her touches.

“Ev­ery time they got the ball to her, it was ei­ther a foul or it was two points,” Perea said.

That paid div­i­dends, as Vasquez, who had 22 points, scored just four points in the fourth quar­ter.

La Cueva soon forced con­tested shots and snagged some key de­fen­sive boards, which helped it gen­er­ate much­needed pos­ses­sions down the stretch.

Farm­ing­ton (19-5, 3-2) had mul­ti­ple chances to strike when it be­came a one-pos­ses­sion game in the sec­ond half. But the Scor­pi­ons were un­able to hit key shots, ei­ther from long range or in close.

“It is very frus­trat­ing be­cause you know you should’ve won this game. It’s very frus­trat­ing to see those lit­tle bas­kets just roll in and out,” Farm­ing­ton coach Laren­son Hen­der­son said.

La Cueva was quick to jump up and re­bound the ball, and it also swat­ted at quick passes zing­ing through the mid­dle.

Even when in foul trou­ble, La Cueva (17-4, 2-3) stayed the course and kept get­ting stops — and kept its faint district ti­tle hopes alive.

Boys

LA CUEVA 81, FARM­ING­TON 60: At La Cueva, a sec­ond quar­ter in which the Scor­pi­ons (11-12, 0-5 in 5-5A) were held score­less helped keep the Bears (13-8, 5-0) un­beaten in league play.

Ju­nior guard Derek Aeilts had 26 points to pace La Cueva, which faces a cru­cial road game Fri­day night at sec­ond­place El­do­rado (15-5, 4-1), which routed Piedra Vista 77-49 on Satur­day.

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