The Lady Braves (6-1) squandered a six-point lead with 20 seconds left in a 63-60 loss to Las Cruces in the first of two semifinal games.
The Lady Bulldawgs forced three straight turnovers in the closing seconds, converting them into a pair of short-range buckets and a go-ahead 3-pointer. For good measure they added a pair of free throws with 2.3 left.
SFIS senior Bridget Lee had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer, but her 3-point attempt was off the mark.
“Las Cruces made the gym feel like it was Hawaii and we made it feel like it was Alaska,” said Cindy Roybal, Lady Braves head coach. “I don’t think they missed a shot in the first half. To their credit they kept finding the open man and then knocking down the shot, but they wouldn’t miss. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Las Cruces led by as many as 10 points in the first half before SFIS rallied to tie it at 28 at halftime. The Lady Braves led for much of the second half and looked to have a berth in Saturday’s championship game sewn up when things fell apart.
“We acted like it was Christmas and we were giving them gifts like Santa,” Roybal said. “We needed to be more like the Scrooge.”
Española Valley 46, Albuquerque Academy 38
In Albuquerque, the Lady Sundevils started off sluggishly, and trailed 27-23 at the half, but they allowed the Lady Chargers just 11 points the rest of the way to advance to the fifth-place game of the Joe Armijo Classic against Albuquerque Cibola.
Española outscored the host team 15-7 in the pivotal fourth quarter to break a 31-all tie. Krista Bustos had 18 points to lead the Lady Sundevils (5-2), while Natalie Dubois paced Academy with 14.
Espanola Valley 58, Alamosa (Colo.) 49
In Espanola, Kyle Gaines had 18 points and Nathan Cordova 11 to hand the Sundevils (8-2) a second straight win in their own Sundevils Classic.
Espanola opened a 23-17 lead at halftime but pushed the margin to double figures with a 19-11 run in the third quarter.
Sophomore Jerry Garduno and freshman Elias Archuleta had eight points apiece for the Sundevils, who opened the tournament Thursday with a win over Valencia. They close the round-robin event Saturday against Kirtland Central.
Pecos 77, Texico 66
In Tularosa, the Panthers (2-1) won their second straight game by getting double figure scoring from six different players. The win sends them into Saturday’s championship game of the Johnny May Classic.
Aaron Lujan and Darren de Herrera each had 14 points for Pecos while Johnny Vigil and P.J. C de Baca each had 13.
Brandon Quintana had 12 points and Adrian Ortiz finished with 11.
The Panthers trailed 33-25 at halftime but followed a 24-17 run in the third quarter with a 28-16 burst in the fourth.
Pojoaque Valley 63, Webb (Calif.) 54
In Albuquerque, Matthew Herrera had a game-high 22 points for the Elks in the consolation round of a tournament hosted by Sandia Prep.
Brandon Bustos added 15 points for Pojoaque, which was outscored 15-5 in the third quarter after taking a 13-point lead into halftime.