MESCALERO – Overtime.
Coaches dread it, fans find it to be the most exciting thing in the world – depending on whether their team ultimately wins or loses.
For the Capitan Tiger girls basketball team, overtime was certainly a reason to celebrate, as they were able to force an extra period against Hondo, Dec. 16, in the third place game of the Mescalero Holiday Classic.
Mackenzie Nunez’ layup with 27 seconds left tied things at 49-all and the Tigers eventually went on to win 57-55.
“I don’t like overtime games, but for this early in the season, it was good. Our girls showed a lot of intensity and dedication,” said Capitan coach Sean Wootten. “I thought we played well to rally and get ourselves back in the game.”
Capitan (2-2) had to overcome a deficit in the first half, but it wasn’t much, being down by just four points at the break.
In fact, the Tigers led for most of the third quarter, taking the lead on a three-pointer by Destanie Magnone with six minutes left in the frame.
After Hondo re-took the lead on a jumper by Kyra Lucero with 2:57 left in regulation, the Eagles (1-6) started to experience attrition due to fouls.
By the time the game ended, Joyce Anne Cooper, Nina Herrera and Chase Dictson had all fouled out of the game.
Now with a lot of youngsters on the court, the Eagles were unable to stop Capitan’s comeback, although it was just a three-point gap the Tigers had to close.
They closed it on a free throw by Dominique Valadez – who also eventually fouled out – and that all-important layup by Nunez.
With 27 seconds left, Hondo still had a chance to win, but they let the time slip away before Lucero had to heave a desperation shot from beyond the key that fell short.
“My guard lost sight of the clock, and I probably should have called a time out. Those are things we need to get better at,” said Hondo coach Adam Romero. “Capitan’s a good team and they kept coming. But we kept coming and had kids step up when we needed it.”
Once Wootten knew his team had an extra four minutes, he knew the momentum would carry them to the eventual win.
“When she made that shot and Hondo couldn’t make the shot, I knew our team was mentally prepared to play overtime,” Wootten said. “When we took a five-point lead, I took a time out and told them to just run the offense.”
Capitan took that momentum and the lead, securing the victory even after Lucero’s show with just a second left brought her team to within two points at the end.
Nunez ended up with 11 points, tying Dakota Hazen for the team lead, while Valadez added 10.
Lucero had 20 points to lead the Eagles, while Dicston had 13 before fouling out. Melissa Guillen added 10.