Lady Wolverines can’t hold off Santa Rosa

Texico senior Jazzi Walls and Santa Rosa’s Marisa Garcia hit the floor over a loose ball during the first half of Friday’s game in Texico. Photo by Eric Kluth

By Dave Wagner

TEXICO — Santa Rosa’s Yvonne Gallegos didn’t have nearly the game she did against Texico last month at home, but she made big plays to save the Lady Lions at the end.

Held to two points for 2 1/2 quarters, the senior guard hit three 3-pointers in the final 3 1/2 minutes and then dished off to senior Marisa Garcia for the game-winning basket as time expired in Santa Rosa’s 55-53 win Friday night, giving the Lady Lions the undisputed District 6-2A regular-season championship.

Gallegos burned the Lady Wolverines for 23 points in the earlier game, a 68-35 Santa Rosa rout.

“She had a hot game in Santa Rosa,” said Lady Lions coach Joe Esquibel, adding that his point guard averages just over 10 points a game. “Tonight, I credit Texico’s defense with stopping her.

“Luckily, she got open at the end and hit some shots. And that was a nice dish at the end.”

Gallegos finished with a game-high 15 points for the Lady Lions (22-4, 8-0), ranked first in one Class 2A state poll and second in another. Junior post Melissa Chavez added 10 as Santa Rosa, down 33-12 at the break, used aggressive defensive pressure to fuel its 43-point second half.

Texico (19-5, 6-2), which was trying to force a playoff for the district title, got 14 points from senior Sissy Loper, 13 from senior Jazzi Walls and 10 from junior Lauren Boazman.

“Their pressure hurt us, no doubt about that,” Texico girls coach Buddy Little said. “We kind of backed off and weren’t the aggressor in the second half.

“I can’t take anything away from Santa Rosa. They’re probably the best team in the state in (2A).”

The Lady Wolverines could do little wrong in the first half, committing only six turnovers in that time and holding Santa Rosa to just one free throw in the second quarter.

“Texico came out really hot; they were ready to play,” Esquibel said. “I knew they were a lot better than they showed in Santa Rosa.”

The Lady Lions scored on four consecutive possessions in the first 93 seconds of the fourth quarter to pull to 40-36. Trailing 46-43, Gallegos’ three 3-pointers pushed Santa Rosa in front 52-49 with 1:50 left.

Texico tied it on Brette Hadley’s baseline jumper with 45 seconds left, but after a timeout Gallegos patiently waited before penetrating the lane and finding Garcia open underneath for the game-winner.

The Lady Wolverines begin district tournament play at 6 p.m. Monday, hosting fifth-seeded Tucumcari.