TULAROSA – Ruidoso girls basketball coach Jason Kampsky had a rare luxury in his team’s game against Tularosa’s JV during the first round of the TBTC Classic, Jan. 11.
Midway through the first quarter, he was able to sub out his entire team.
“I made that conscious decision to sub a lot and sub early,” Kampsky said. “I wanted to get the girls that don’t play as much more time on the floor together. It almost bit us, but we had a really good fourth quarter and were able to put them away.”
All that substitution paid off in the end, as the Warriors were able to overcome a sloppy first half and steadily pull away for a 45-34 victory.
With the win, Ruidoso will face Lordsburg in the next round on Friday at 6 p.m.
Tularosa actually had an 11-8 lead at the end of the first period, thanks to some stiff defense and the Warriors’ inability to hold onto the ball.
But things started to turn around in the next frame. Ruidoso (5-9) took its second lead – after starting the game off with a free throw by Hailee Blake – with 6:54 left in the second quarter on a putback by Erika Jarvis.
The Wildcats were able to go ahead again, but Ruidoso had an 18-17 lead at the break after jump shots by Andee Roach and Devynee Palmer.
“We weren’t playing as a team in the first half,” Jarvis said. “But we really pulled together in the second half. That helped us pull through with a win.”
After that, Ruidoso kept getting better and better. The Warriors’ total each quarter kept getting higher, meaning they were able to stave off a Tularosa comeback that put the Wildcats within two with 6:01 left in the game.
Blake, in particular, found her groove near the end, scoring five straight points in a 60-second stretch and finishing with 14.
Roach, meanwhile grabbed eight rebounds to keep Tularosa from any putbacks on missed shots.
And in the end, Ruidoso quit giving the ball away as much while the Wildcats couldn’t hold onto it. In the end, but squads ended up with 19 turnovers.
With Lordsburg up next, a very good 10-4 Class 2A team. Kampsky knows it will be a test for his team.
“The girls know they have to play better tomorrow, overall,” Kampsky said. “I know they’re a Top 10 2A, and I told the girls that just because they’re smaller schools doesn’t mean you can overlook them. This is a tough tournament and they want to win just as much as we do. We have to go after them.”