CARRIZOZO – As you would usually expect of any teams, the Carrizozo boys and girls basketball teams have shown improvement since the beginning of the season.
Unfortunately for both, that level of improvement wasn’t enough to give them victories over Animas in their District 2-1A season openers.
The Grizzly girls fell 53-15 in a game that should have seen a lot more Carrizozo points, while the boys couldn’t overcome a poor first quarter in a 61-50 loss.
After finding themselves down 18-5 at the end of the first period, the Carrizozo boys (7-12, 0-1 district) were able turn on the jets, particularly in the third quarter, when they outscored the Panthers (11-9, 1-0) 21-9.
They were able to get to within seven points, but could get no closer.
“We had a really good week in practice, so this is upsetting for me,” said Carrizozo coach Trampus Pierson. “We should have come out and play hard in our first district game. We had a good heart-to-heart at halftime, and I told them that they’re not that much better than us.”
Jared Guevara did almost everything for Carrizozo, scoring 15 points and hauling in 12 rebounds.
But he was one of only four Grizzlies on the board. Center Detrick Autrey also had 14 points – along with five blocks – while Jacob Narvaez and Dominic Barela had 11 points each.
Animas, meanwhile, was led by Patrick Lasher with 14 points, while Tell Swift and Brian Garcia had 13 points each.
Pierson said the comeback shows his team can compete, they just need to start doing it from the tipoff.
“We match up really well, but that slow start just killed us. Actually, the whole first half,” Pierson said. “If we played like we did in the third and fourth quarter, this is a one point game at the buzzer.”
Scoring scarce for girls
Carrizozo’s girls (1-12, 0-1) might have at least been in the game had they been able to score more easy layups underneath – or maybe their free throws.
While the Panthers (12-7, 1-0) won handily, it wasn’t exactly a blowout to start. After a layup-and-1 by Melissa Barela, the Grizzlies were down by just five points with 3:34 left in the first quarter.
Carrizozo was staying close with a very patient offense, working the ball to get the best shot and – more importantly – keeping it out of the Panthers’ hands.
“They do look better each game,” said Carrizozo coach George Vega. “It’s hard to get better in practice when you don’t have enough players. All you can do is the fundamentals. We’re using these games for practice, and there’s been a big improvement in these girls.”
Barela ended up leading her team with 11 points, which wasn’t early enough to counter the scoring attack by Animas’ Tierney Washburn, who finished with 21 points. She was complimented by teammate Liz Mendoza’s 11 points.
There were many times Carrizozo had wide-open layups underneath, but couldn’t buy a bucket.
“We missed at least six or seven easy layups and gave up six or seven easy layups, so there’s your point differential,” Vega said. “We’re right there if we limit those.”