MESCALERO – When the Mescalero Lady Chiefs last faced Lordsburg, it was in the first round of the Cloudcroft Mountain Top Tournament in December.
In that game, the Lady Chiefs eked out a two-point victory, and their District 3-2A showdown on Jan. 27 promised to be a close one as well.
That’s not exactly how it went.
Lordsburg took a 13-4 lead midway through the first quarter before the Lady Chiefs got their bearings, but had the lead by halftime and a 58-48 win by the end.
“In that first quarter, we were really jumpy,” said Mescalero junior Katelyn Yuzos. “It’s nerve-wracking to play against this great team.”
Mescalero (16-2, 1-0 district) had its hands full defending Anissa Plowman, who led the Lady Mavericks with 17 points, including five 3-pointers.
Gabby Olivas added 12 points, as Lordsburg’s press was allowing them to beat the Lady Chiefs at their own game.
Mescalero eventually starting turning things around in the second quarter, eventually going on a 12-0 run to close out the period and take a 28-24 lead at the break.
They got the lead despite committing 20 turnovers, but the Lady Chiefs were better than Lordsburg (8-6, 0-1) in nearly every other category, particularly rebounds.
Mescalero had 62 boards, and were led by Yuzos with an amazing 24. She also led the game in scoring with 21 points.
She picked up the slack inside and out after sister Lauryn Yuzos fouled out.
“She’s our post, she gets the rebounds,” Katelyn said. “But I think we handled it (her fouling out) very well. We have a lot of posts that do well in practice. We all had to pick it up after that.”
“They’re really great shooters, but we were able to extend the zone and keep them from penetrating,” said Mescalero coach Elmer Chavez. “Then we were able to control the boards, and that made the difference.”
At one point, all three Yuzos sisters – Katelyn, Lauryn and eighth grader Madisyn – were on the floor at the same time. After Lauryn fouled out, Chavez had to go with a trio of eighth graders, including Samantha Kazhe and Tunte Baca.
“We had to use a lot of the bench when Lauryn fouled out. They got a lot of experience today, so I’m happy about that,” Chavez said. “I was asking my assistant, ‘is that all we have? Eighth graders?,’ because every time I looked down the bench, that’s all we seemed to have. But those girls are going to be great players, and I’m glad they got some experience tonight.”
Lordsburg boys overwhelm Chiefs
In the nightcap, Lordsburg’s boys took a commanding lead early and rolled right over the Chiefs in a 76-41 win.
The Mavericks (17-1, 1-0 district) really relied on the three, putting up eight treys in the game, including five in the first quarter alone.
“Gosh they shot the lights out,” said Mescalero coach Randy Courtney of Lordsburg’s achievement. “If they shoot like that against us or anybody else, It’s going to be hard to stop them.”
All that led to an eventual running clock in the second half, although the Chiefs (8-10, 0-1) were constantly hovering around the 35-point barrier, never allowing a permanent running clock until the very end.
“That’s something I’m proud of our boys for,” Courtney said. “They didn’t get their heads down, they didn’t quit, and they competed for the whole game.”
Patrick Denny was able to lead the Chiefs with 14 points, while Harry Wheeler contributed 13.
Jacob Esquivel was the top Maverick with 21 points.