MESCALERO – With seemingly nothing stopping them from a top seed in this year’s Class 2A State basketball playoffs, Mescalero’s girls stormed to another victory, Jan. 16, a 65-27 decision over Gateway Christian.
The top-ranked Lady Chiefs (15-1) were fresh off a thrilling victory over second-ranked Fort Sumner on Jan. 13, and have one home game against Dexter, Jan. 20, before starting their District 3-2A schedule against Mesilla Valley the following day.
“For 2A, I think we’re better than the team I had at Santa Fe,” said coach Elmer Chavez, referring to his Class 4A State champion Lady Demons of 2014. “But we have to keep getting better.”
It didn’t take long for Mescalero to take control, going up 11-0 before a three-pointer by Savannah Fox finally put the Lady Warriors (4-10) on the board with 4:12 left in the first quarter.
Fouls hurt, too. Gateway Christian was whistled for 11 infractions in the first half, while the Lady Chiefs (15-1) had only two, and Mescalero hauled in 20 more rebounds.
It was a win all the way around for the Lady Chiefs, just the way Chavez likes it.
“Our free throws are going up, our shooting percentage is going up, the girls are starting to believe in what we’re doing,” Chavez said. “We try to win the press, the scoring, the free throws, the defense. We try to win every phase of the game.”
Actually, there was one problem. After building up a 13-3 lead, Chavez pulled his starters and put in the second string, and the Lady Warriors promptly scored four points to round out the first quarter.
After that, the Lady Chief defense settled in and things were smoother.
“I tried to put those girls in when the game was still on the line,” Chavez said of his decision to sub in the bench early. “I wanted them to feel the pressure the starters feel. We might need those girls down the stretch.”
Lauryn Yuzos was again the big presence inside, scoring 20 points and getting 14 rebounds to lead the way. Janessa Melendrez had 14 points on a trio of three-pointers, while Katelyn Yuzos had 12.
Magyn Balok was the only Lady Warrior in double figures with 10 points.