Santa Fe High is set to meet Pojoaque Valley on Saturday at 5 p.m. in Toby Roybal Memorial Gymnasium for the Capital City Invitational championship.
Both teams won their semifinal handily: The Demonettes over Taos 45-28 and the Elkettes defeating St. Michael’s 44-38.
Pojoaque head coach Ron Drake and Demonettes head coach Elmer Chavez have more than a friendly rivalry.
Drake coached the Demonettes from 1993-2004, breathing new life into the program and leading Santa Fe High from a struggling program to five district titles in Class AAAA.
“I brought it back,” Drake said. “We did a good job. we did a lot of camps, we did a lot of leagues, and I’m demanding. We brought it back and won the district five straight years here and went to state. And that’s with only eight teams [making the playoffs]. It’s not like now, [with] 16, so that was an honor for these kids to go to state.”
Now Drake’s Elkettes (5-2) face a Santa Fe High team on fire, having won its first eight games. Much of this is due to the fearsome unit of sophomores Kayla Herrera and Sabrina Lozada-Cabbage plus junior Jackie Martinez.
“In the past couple years, Sabrina or Kayla or Jackie, they take turns getting MVP’s and take turns getting all-tourney,” Chavez said. “It keeps them all happy, keeps them all working. I like that.”
It’s Herrera’s turn this tournament. She racked up 17 points against Taos, and invigorated her team with 31 points on Thursday against West Las Vegas. But her teammates were right behind her, with Martinez owning the free-throw line (7-for-8) and posting nine points, and Lozada-Cabbage added eight.
Drake, in his first year at Pojoaque, says he and the team are still getting used to each other. But that didn’t seem to be a problem on Friday.
The Lady Horsemen were outshot, outpassed and generally outclassed by the Elkettes in the first half of the game, as they led 31-21 at the half.
St. Michael’s tried to rally, but hit just four of 12 from the field in the fourth quarter. Coupled with the seven points they scored in the third quarter, the Lady Horsemen were left out in the cold.
While Santa Fe High has a tenacious trio with Herrera, Lozada-Cabbage and Martinez, Pojoaque has the Cheyenne show with senior Cordova and junior Law.
Cordova, whom Drake and Chavez call one of the best point guards in the state, racked up 23 points. Law backed her up with 13 points. The other Elkettes? Not so much as they combined for seven.
Saturday’s game has the potential to be explosive. Drake, however, has the no illusions.
“Our goal is to play defense, of course, and try to hold them,” he said. “They’re not in our district, they’re not in our class, so a loss there wouldn’t be too bad as long as we learn something.”
Capital 46, Santa Fe High JV 31
The Lady Jaguars (2-6) bounced back back against the junior Demonettes. Capital’s senior captain Ashley Sorensen, who totaled 19 points for the game-high, also pulled in 27 rebounds.
Lady Jaguars assistant coach Veronica Lerma, a 2004 Santa Fe High graduate, directed the team while under head coach Tom Montoya sat on the bench since he was under the weather.
After scoring eight points in the first half, the junior Demonettes rallied late, scoring 16 points in the fourth quarter.
Robertson 54, West Las Vegas 49
The Lady Cardinals (3-2) were buoyed by a heroic performance from senior guard Kendra Montoya, who owned the 3-point line.
Montoya sunk six of them, including four in the second quarter, to finish with 24 points.
The Lady Don’s lackluster five points they put up in the first period came back to haunt them.
Even perking up to to score 14 points in the second quarter, 11 in the third, and 19 in the fourth, it still wasn’t enough for West Las Vegas (5-2) to catch up to the Lady Cardinals.
Both teams will not travel because of the weekend’s inclement weather, so they will forfeit their last game.
Instead, Capital and Santa Fe High’s junior varsity will meet again at 11 a.m on Saturday.