Centauri's Marissa Quinlan (5) and Monte Vista's Sheby Hindes (1) , the fleet-footed point guards for their respective teams, put on a show as they battled each other throughout their Friday afternoon semifinal match up.
Courier Sports Editor
MOSCA—The second day of the 2012 Thunderbird Shootout excited fans in each of the eight games that took place on Friday afternoon. The semifinal games that were played proved that Saturday's action, which is scheduled to tip-off at 8 a.m., will be even more exciting as tournament trophies will be on the line.
Sierra Grande 35,
The Sierra Grande Panthers advanced to the consolation championships on Saturday with a 35-26 win over the Center Vikings.
Sierra Grande senior Brianna Archuleta got the Panthers off and running early by nailing two 3-pointers in the opening quarter to pace a 13-11 first quarter lead.
Maya Martinez tied the game at 13 early in the second quarter only for Panther senior Brooke Lucero to break the tie with a trey. The Panthers opened up a 5-point lead, but the Vikings came back and closed the gap to 21-20 with two minutes remaining in the half.
The Panthers then went 1-for-4 in free throws down the last stretch. With four seconds remaining, the Panthers inbounded the ball and swung it around looking for an open player. As the buzzer sounded, a trey was swished by Lucero and initially counted. After some consideration by the officials, the points were rescinded and the halftime score was 22-20.
Sierra Grande opened their lead once again, this time to six points, by outscoring the Vikings 4-1 in the third quarter. They never looked back because they outscored the Vikings 7-2 in the final period for a 35-26 win.
Archuleta led the Panthers with 11 points, nine of which came on three 3-pointers. As a team, the Panthers made 25 percent (14-of-57) of their shots from the field. From the line, Sierra Grande only hit 1-of-6 free throws (17 percent).
The Vikings were led by senior Alexa Lobato. Lobato, who hit two 3-pointers from college-range, had 8 points. Sophomore Megan McKibbon, who scored six points, only played in the first half as she suffered a dislocated shoulder toward the end of the second quarter. The Vikings made 10-of-43 (23 percent) shots from the field and 4-of-15 (27 percent) from the free throw line.
Sierra Grande (1-1)13-9-4-9-35
Del Norte 56,
The Del Norte Tigers controlled the pace of the consolation semifinal early Friday morning to seal their spot in the consolation championship. The Tigers defeated the Antonito Trojans 56-40.
The Trojans did their best to keep pace with the Tigers but early foul trouble for Isaiah Garcia hurt them a little bit forcing them to pull up a little bit.
The Tigers led 30-17 into the halftime break, a lead they would keep and extend in the second half. The Tigers lead scorer was Colin Trujillo, who scored 24 points. As a team Del Norte was 14-of-17 (82 percent) from the free throw line.
Garcia led the Trojans with 15 points while Chris Romero finished with 12 points. They connected on 75 percent (8-of-12) from the line.
Del Norte (1-1)-13-17-9-17-56
Sangre de Cristo 51,
The Sangre de Cristo Thunderbirds ensured a spot in consolation championship on Saturday with a hard fought victory over the Center Vikings on Friday.
If this basketball game had been a football game, there would have been a record amount of fumbles. As the quick-twitch muscles moved in hyper-drive, the ball was not maintained by one team for very long. Because of this several players sprawled out trying to recover the ball.
The Thunderbirds opened up the game with a 14-point first quarter including seven from senior Mitchell Stagner. He would add four points in the second quarter as the Thunderbirds led 24-11 at the half.
The game settled to a pedestrian pace in the second half. The Vikings actually outscored the Thunderbirds in the third quarter, 11-9.
The fourth quarter was all Thunderbirds. They opened on a 14-0 run to help cap off the win.
Sangre de Cristo (1-1)-14-10-9-18-51
Sangre de Cristo
Monte Vista 30
A preview of Christmas filled the Sangre de Cristo gym as blurs of Monte Vista green and Centauri Red blurred back and forth in a pre-InterMountain League championship semifinal matchup between the two schools. As the game played out, the Falcons soared to the final with a 57-30 win.
The game opened up with intense back and forth play. Two of the fastest point guards in the Valley, Centauri junior Marissa Quinlan and Monte Vista sophomore Shelby Hindes, applied pressure on each other forcing each team to improvise and change plays. The Falcons, who are normally a fast-paced team, adjusted quicker and it showed in the point’s column. The Falcons led by 15 after the first quarter and by 27 at the halftime break.
A highlight of the first half for the Falcons came when senior Kathleen Ruybal hit three jumpers in a row. Ruybal and junior Tori Fringer wreaked havoc on the Pirate defense. The two teamed up on several plays to help the two be the top scorers in the game. Ruybal scored 12 points while Fringer contributed 15.
There were six players for the Pirates with four points each.
Monte Vista (1-1)-5-6-5-14-30
Sierra Grande 72
The Panther-Falcon matchup in the boys’ semifinal game was all it was cracked up to be. The rematch of last year’s Thunderbird Shootout Championship match turned out to come a round early. Several key plays toward the end of the game got the Falcons a 74-72 win.
The first quarter was a shootout because both teams matched each other and took it the quarter break with a 19-19 draw. Junior Tomas Vigil was the attack leader with 10 points. Falcon sophomore Mitchell Wilson had seven points in a pretty evenly distributed offense.
The second quarter started with three straight 3-pointers by the Falcon artillery. They added five more points to jump out to a 33-23 lead. The Panthers used Falcon fouls to get back into the game and make it a 3-point game with just over 1:20 remaining in the half. Falcon senior Justin Gallegos opened the gap to seven, 37-30, with two jumpers in the final minute.
The third quarter was just as intense. The Falcons would get an 11-point lead before the Panthers charged back to tie the game at 2:47. Junior Adam Gomez was the main shooter by contributing seven points in the comeback.
With 1:40 remaining in the quarter Falcon sophomore Jeremy Cornum broke the tie with a 3-pointer, but just five seconds later, Panther senior Braydon Smith knocked down a 3-pointer to tie it. Cornum then broke the tie again with a lay-up with 48 seconds left. A foul on Centauri put Smith on the line, however, he only converted on one of the two free throws. Gallegos added a jumper with just over ten seconds and a take away and fast break bucket with three seconds left. He connected on a free throw, and the Falcons led 54-48 going into the final quarter.
The Falcons kept the pressure early and they extended their lead to ten points with the help of the hot hands of Cornum. They used their quickness to eliminate Gomez because of foul trouble. He finished the game with 12 points. Centauri senior Russell Shawcroft fouled out less than three seconds later. He scored four points.
The Panthers were able to hit two threes, one by Vigil and another by senior Bryan Garcia, to make the score 65-61 with 2:52 remaining. They had two chances to comeback because with 2:22, Smith had a steal and had an easy lay-up that was rescinded because of a charging foul. Vigil had a steal before missing a trey with less than five seconds later.
After a timeout was called by Head Coach Matt Lucero, Howard hit the first of two free throws. The second was made but nullified because of a lane violation. Another missed 3-point bucket by Vigil made the score 66-62 with two minutes remaining.
With the clock reading 1:43 Howard had a steal and a lay-up to close the gap to 66-64 to force the hands of the Falcons. As the Falcons were driving, an easy lay-up was blocked by Vigil, however, sophomore KC Jarvies made plays when it mattered. The first came when he made a steal with 1:25 and the second came when he drew a foul as he made a lay-up and the clock read 1:07.
Junior Clay McCarroll made a bucket to extend the lead to 70-64.
Vigil then countered with a trey before he also fouled out. The game reached a nail-biting climax when the clock read 6.1 seconds because Smith nailed a trey to make it a 2-point game. Unfortunately, a foul was called after the shot giving the Falcons two free throws. They did not convert and Howard got the rebound to drive down the court for a shot at the buzzer. It did not fall but the Panthers did.
Sierra Grande (1-1-)-19-11-18-24-72
Del Norte 51,
The Tigers just put a vice grip on the Thunderbirds early by opening up with an 18-4 lead entering the second quarter.
The second quarter started out rough for the Tigers as one of their biggest offensive players, junior AJ Fresquez, went down with an apparent leg injury. Before that, Fresquez had scored eight points for the Tigers.
The injury affected the Tigers because they were only able to score three points in the six minutes since. The Thunderbirds came back and scored 14 to make the score 30-18 at the half.
Thunderbird sophomore Allie Beiriger did her best to keep them in the game by hitting two 3-pointers in the third quarter. The Thunderbirds were able to outscore the Tigers 12-9 to make it a 9-point game entering the final quarter.
The Thunderbirds used a 3-point play the hard way by sophomore Abbey Stagner and two lay-ups by senior Kathryn New to make it a 3-point game with 1:45 left to play. With 53.2 seconds remaining, Stagner was fouled and went to the line where she hit the first shot to make the score 45-43.
Senior Kassidy Jones was fouled and hit both of her free throws to extend the lead to four points before Thunderbird freshman Karleigh Cooley went to the line and hit both of her shots making the score 47-45 with 24.9 seconds remaining.
Tiger junior Alli Butler hit three field goals down the final stretch to take the 51-46 win.
Sangre de Cristo (1-1)-4-13-12-16-46
Del Norte (2-0)-18-12-9-12-51
Sangre de Cristo
Monte Vista 59,
The Monte Vista Pirates were able to use a huge first quarter to get out to an early lead coupled with explosive treys and a huge slam dunk to seal their spot in the championship game with Centauri Falcons with their 59-47 win.
Monte Vista opened up the game with a 16-point first quarter as three players each tallied four points.
The second quarter was a back-and-forth battle with each team scoring ten points. The catalyst for the Pirates was senior Keith Romero, who hit two 3-pointers.The third quarter was won by the Bears, who scored 22. Cody Carroll scored nine points. The Pirates scored 17 points in the quarter including ten by senior Jaziah Martinez.
With two minutes remaining in the game, the Pirates only led by three points, 47-50. The crowd was electrified with the clock showing 1:25. 6-foot-8 Donald Poole III made everyone on the court look like dwarfs as he slammed a basket down for two points. The added an additional seven free throws for the 59-47 win.
Martinez and Romero led the Pirates with 16 points each
Monte Vista (2-0)16-10-17-16-59