RUIDOSO – With precious few games left before the end of the regular season, Ruidoso girls basketball coach Jason Kampsky was hoping he might sneak in a non-district win for his girls on Feb. 4.
The Lady Warriors almost came through against Artesia in a rare 11 a.m. start, building up as much as an 18-9 lead before falling by a single bucket, 52-50.
“Near the end of the game we started getting our head up and making easy plays,” Kampsky said of Ruidoso’s near-comeback at the end. “We almost clawed ourselves back into a win.”
Ruidoso (4-18) jumped out to their initial big lead thanks to some patient passing in the face of a pressure defense and domination inside by center Lia Mosher.
Mosher ended up with 31 points, 26 rebounds, five steals and five blocks, leading her team in every category.
But she wasn’t the only one with timely buckets. Indeed, Andee Roach came up with a buzzer-beating three-pointer at the buzzer to give her team a 14-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Things started to go south for the Lady Warriors near the end of the second quarter.
Artesia (13-9) started getting more steals, but more importantly, the Lady Warriors started making bad passes and bad decisions.
“We just let their pressure get to us and started throwing bad passes,” Kampsky said. “They were making bad decisions – throwing the ball across court to someone we think is open instead of to someone we know is open. We were just trying to do too much.”
By halftime, Ruidoso had seen its lead dwindle to just two, 26-24.
While the Lady Warriors were able to hold off the charge just a bit to start the second half, Artesia’s defense just wouldn’t be denied, as the Lady Bulldogs eventually took the lead for good on a jump shot by Kinli Taylor.
A trio of threes by Alexa Riggs served to put the Lady Bulldogs even further ahead.
But the Lady Warriors settled down in the final quarter, and eventually clawed their way back. They had a chance to at least tie it when Mosher was fouled on a shot with about 40 seconds left, but the ball wouldn’t find the net.
In the end, Mosher’s layup at the buzzer brought Ruidoso to within two, but the Lady Warriors could get no closer.
While it was a loss, it was a competitive loss, something Kampsky plans to use in Ruidoso’s upcoming game against Hope Christian.
“I told the girls to use this as a confidence booster,” Kampsky said. “If they can compete like that against a top 5A school, we’ll use this and go out against Hope Christian and do everything we can to make it a game.”