Let’s just say there was no hung jury.
The Lady Braves made Española Valley, a team Roybal said has championship pedigree, look indigent in a 62-40 win in the championship of the Lady Braves’ first-year tournament in the Pueblo Pavilion Wellness Center.
It was the type of win — against a quality Class AAAA program — that makes one reconsider whether the teams the Lady Braves plowed through in getting to the championship were really that bad, or whether Santa Fe Indian School is that good.
The Lady Braves (4-0) rolled through Navajo Prep, made defending AAAA champion Kirtland Central look like couch potatoes, then topped it off by making the Lady Sundevils’ offense look anemic.
Española Valley (3-1) made 12 3-pointers in Friday’s rout of Hot Springs. Against Santa Fe Indian School’s stalwart perimeter defense, the Lady Sundevils made only two.
Española’s all-state guard Lauren Quintana was also a non-factor, swallowed by the swarming Lady Braves. She had no points and three turnovers in the fourth quarter.
Just how salty are these Lady Braves? Center Bridgette Nelson, who led a quartet of Lady Braves in double figures with 14 points, said they have the potential to be better than they were last year. Put another way, they made Española look like Elmer Fudd.
Roybal is still adamant the Lady Sundevils will be in the thick of the AAAA championship conversation at the end of the year and gave them a pep talk while handing them the second-place trophy.
“Cindy Roybal doesn’t lie. Cindy Roybal doesn’t try to sugarcoat anything,” Roybal said. “Cindy Roybal tells it like it is. It’s not brag, just fact.”
Fact: The Lady Sundevils, outmatched virtually the whole way, frittered away any chance of making the game interesting when first-year head coach Oliver Torres opted for a wholesale substitution late in the third quarter.
Lee hit a pair of free throws with 2:43 left in the third quarter to gives the Lady Braves a 49-25 lead, their biggest of the night.
The Lady Sundevils responded with a 9-0 run, led by Ashlynn Trujillo, to pull within 15. She had eight of her 15 points in the quarter.
Then Torres subbed all five players out, and the Lady Sundevils lost all headway.
By the time that group re-entered with 5:06 left, Santa Fe Indian School had re-established control.
Española Valley wouldn’t make its first field goal of the fourth till there was 8 seconds left.
“They were tired,” Torres said. “They were hurting, and the coaching staff and me felt they needed a blow. We’re depending on our depth, so I have to have faith in my second five.”
Notes: Jennifer Willie, the tournament MVP, hobbled off the court at 4:02 fourth-quarter mark and didn’t return.
Roybal said she bruised her right knee but shouldn’t miss any time.
In other action
Kirtland Central 47, Hot Springs 22
In the third-place game, the Lady Broncos had more than enough cushion to survive a scoreless fourth quarter.
Kirtland Central outscored the Lady Tigers 25-5 in the third quarter to put it out of reach. Keeshawna Ockerman had 12 points for the Lady Broncos.
Grants 41, Piedra Vista 39
Sydney Mares finished with a game-high 21 points to lead the Lady Pirates to a fifth-place finish in a game that came down to the nitty-gritty.
Grants and the Lady Panthers, both AAAA semifinalists last season, were separated by two points over the last two quarters.
Navajo Prep 67, Santa Fe Indian School JV 37
The Lady Eagles hammered the Lady Braves to lock up seventh place and salvaged their trip to Santa Fe.
Kiera Rock had 14 points for Prep.