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Lady Grizzlies go down fighting

By Todd Fuqua

Carrizozo’s girls basketball team had an unenviable task in its first round game of the Class 1A State tournament on Feb. 3.

Just beat No. 1, six-time defending state champion Elida, on the Lady Tigers’ home floor. That’s all.

Carrizozo may have lost, 61-25, to bring the Lady Grizzlies’ season to an end, but coach George Vega was still proud of how his girls played.

“We showed up and played good, we’re just young,” Vega said. “It was hard for us to get some buckets, but we handled the pressure pretty good.”

Carrizozo (5-25) came into the game having surprised Reserve in their District 2-1A tournament game, with a 37-34 victory on the road before falling to Quemado, so it’s not like the Lady Grizzlies didn’t know how to win.

“Elida’s really good, as everyone knows, and that’s the team to beat,” Vega said. “I’m glad we got to play them and see what kind of team we were.”

Carrizozo is very young, with only four seniors on its roster this season, and will be young again next season.

This year’s eighth grade crop – which the Lady Grizzlies leaned on heavily to produce – will still be only freshmen next season. But at least they’ll have a year of varsity play under their belt.

Also, there’s next year’s senior Hailey Barela and sophomore D’anna Willingham.

“They got thrown to the wolves, and we expected a lot of them,” Vega said. “They stuck with it and learned a lot, and they did beyond what I expected them to do.”

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