Sanford freshman and top scorer Miles Caldon (20) lays in two.
Courier photo by Lauren Krizansky
Courier staff writer
SANFORD — Both the Sanford Indians and the Sangre de Cristo Thunderbirds took home one dominating victory and a devastating loss on Friday night.
The Lady Thunderbirds took the Lady Indians 57-32, earning the 2A SPL League Championship title and a first seed in the upcoming tournament.
Sangre de Cristo never let off a seasoned and physical full court press, and Sanford never found a way to conquer the defensive attack.
In the first quarter, the Lady Thunderbirds gave the Lady Indians one chance to take the lead when the score was tied 8 to 8 at the 2:30 mark. After Sangre de Cristo senior Jessica Gilmore nailed a jumper and knocked in two free throws, and senior Kathryn New took full advantage of a one and one opportunity, the score was 14 Sangre de Cristo, 9 Sanford at the end of eight minutes.
The Lady Thunderbirds managed to build a ten point lead going into halftime. They kicked off when New grabbed a rebound and gave the ball up to sophomore Abbey Stagner who found sophomore Allie Beiriger looking for the bottom of the net and finding two points. Moments later, Beiriger connected on a three pointer, making the difference 21 to 9. Both teams found points at the charity stripe for a halftime score of 27 Sangre de Cristo, 17 Sanford.
After the break, the Lady Thunderbirds turned it on, taking the Lady Indians for 13 points. Sophomore Heather Dieckman contributed a trey while New, Beiriger, Stagner and senior Jessica Gilmore added the other 10. Sanford put 11 points on the board with buckets from junior Josie Larsen, junior Jaycee Canty and junior Bailee Canty. Heading into the final quarter, the soon-to-be-named league champs were ahead, 40-28.
The Lady Indians tried to give the Lady Thunderbirds a taste of their own medicine before the night was over. They, too, threw on the full court press, but Sangre de Cristo cut through it like butter. Although they struggled to finish every time down the court, they went 10 for 10 from the free throw line during the last eight minutes, and 87.5 percent on the night. The Lady Indians could not match what would become a 17-point quarter for the Lady Thunderbirds. Senior Kelli Canty scored Sanford's only 4 points from the free throw line, making the final score 57 Sangre de Cristo, 32 Sanford.
Beiriger led Sangre de Cristo with 14 points, and Crowther and Kelli Canty led Sanford with 8 apiece.
Sangre de Cristo’s Cody Parker might have knocked in the first three-point basket of the night, but the scoring didn’t last to beat the now number one seeded 2A SPL League Champions.
The Indians quickly overcame the 3-point deficit with two put backs, and they never looked back. Six points from junior Calder Larsen, four from freshman Chase Canty, three from sophomore Clayton Peterson and a pair from sophomore Brett Crowther put them on top 15 to 5 headed into the second quarter.
They continued to dominate the Thunderbirds through to the half, scoring 10 points, eight from Canty alone, making the half time score 25 Sanford, 11 Sangre de Cristo.
In the third, Sangre de Cristo managed to put 15 points up, one more than Sanford, but is was not enough to make a difference headed into the final quarter.
A series of breakaway layups contributed to the league champs' 21 point finale. Freshman Miles Caldon connected for 13 points alone in the last eight, making him the night’s leading scorer with 18, and the final score Sanford 60, Sangre de Cristo 29.
Senior Mitch Stagner led the Thunderbirds with 11 points.