That’s what St. Michael’s got as it beat Pecos 51-35 Thursday at the Lady Horsemen Christmas Tournament.
St. Michael’s looked like a different girls basketball team with a shiny new offense that put up double-digit scores each quarter and a defense that kept the Lady Panthers in check for the first 24 minutes.
The Lady Horsemen secured a 6 p.m. semifinal spot against Moriarty and is one step closer to reclaiming the tournament title for the first time in 21 years.
Head coach Martin Romero said the Lady Horsemen (4-7) had an overall good performance, chasing well and putting up a solid half-court defense but they broke down in the fourth when turnovers and fouls gave the Lady Panthers (2-5) enough opportunities to put up 16 points.
“The last quarter when we subbed, I thought we were sloppy,” he said. “I thought we got sloppy with turnovers, too, so we didn’t finish well enough in the last five minutes.”
Despite that, St. Michael’s showed some improvement at the free-throw line, one of its problem areas, by hitting 10 of 16. But it was success at making easy layups, which has eluded the Lady Horsemen for most of the season, that stood out the most.
Sophomore forward Alex Groenewold played a big part in their progress. She had seven field goals and scored 17 points.
“We’ve been working a lot on finishing in practice and it’s showing on the court,” Groenewold said.
Senior forward Elizabeth Serrano had 10, and sophomore point guard Christiana Gabaldon hit three 3s for nine.
When the Lady Horsemen meet the Lady Pintos, Romero said he wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a battle.
“They’re going to man us,” he said. “They’re going to bump us when we don’t have the ball so it’s going to be physical. If they can handle our press then it’ll be close.”
Groenewold said she and her teammates are looking forward to the challenge.
“We’re going in confident,” she said. “We have a nice little rhythm coming into it so I feel like we’re going to do good.”
In other action
Moriarty 36, Santa Rosa 28
The Lady Pintos (2-8) and Lady Lions were neck and neck in the first half as Santa Rosa led 12-11 at the half.
Moriarty finally hit its stride, outscoring Santa Rosa 9-6 in the third quarter to capture a 29-28 lead. The Lady Pintos then shut out the Lady Lions and went on a 16-point run bolstered by rebounds.
Moriarty had a four-way tie for team high-score honors: Rosie Garza, Samantha Broussard, Abbey Aultman and Serra Stacey each netted six points.
Taos 67, Farmington 23
It was over for the Lady Scorpions (1-7) from the opening tip.
Senior Marisol Martinez’s 3-pointer for the Lady Tigers (7-5) in the opening seconds signaled the beginning of a nightmare for Farmington. Taos went into the second up 30-1 due to the Lady Scorpions’ 11 turnovers.
The Lady Tigers knocked in eight -point field goals, and Martinez led the way with 26 points, followed by senior Jackie Valerio’s 14.
Taos will meet Española Valley in the semifinals at 4:30 p.m.
Española Valley 69, Silver 30
The Lady Colts (0-7) tried their best to keep up with the Lady Sundevils (10-3), but to no avail.
Española outpaced and outshot Silver in the first half to take a 34-22 lead at the break.
The Lady Sundevils allowed Silver only one point in the third quarter for a 53-23 advantage.
Española senior Cassie Trujillo paced Espanola with 14 points.
Silver’s Sam Terry had the game’s high score with 15.