Neither does the Santa Fe High press.
Thoreau felt the tightening grip of the Demonettes’ defense, and it never let up in a 69-30 Santa Fe High win in a semifinal of the Lady Jaguars Basketball Tournament.
Santa Fe High, off to its best start (6-0) in eight years, will play Valencia in the 6 p.m. championship in Edward A. Ortiz Memorial Gymnasium on Saturday.
Valencia beat host Capital 53-16 in the other semifinal.
The newfound motto, which Demonettes head coach Elmer Chavez adopted after hearing Kent State head football coach Darrell Hazell use it, matches a new attitude and approach by the Demonettes.
“Every girl is on it, and I make them play hard,” Chavez said. “I said, ‘You are are going to play and play hard or you’re not going to play at all.’ ”
The Demonettes played like he meant it.
Santa Fe High pressed Thoreau from the outset, something it didn’t do on a consistent basis a season ago.
It took the Lady Hawks five trips down the court and 21/2 minutes before getting off their first shot. By comparison, Santa Fe High hit its first four shots and took an 8-0 lead by that point. Not even a quick 4-0 run by the Lady Hawks could put a dent in a confident veneer that never went away for the Demonettes.
It says something when 6-foot-2 post Sabrina Lozada-Cabbage grabbed a steal from the wing and went the length of the court for a breakaway layup and a 10-4 lead with 4:32 left. It was the first of three times the sophomore did that in the game, demonstrating the Demonettes’ run-and gun approach.
“We like to run it a lot,” Lozada-Cabbage said. “We’re in good condition, we’re running a lot in practice. So the fast-paced approach is what we want to do.”
That started a 13-0 run that erased any doubt about the outcome. The score was 39-14 at the half and 56-23 after three quarters. But there is no doubt that the Demonettes have the look of a dominant team. That quality became apparent during the summer, when Santa Fe High went to a pair of camps in California and left undefeated.
“This year, we have a little bit more intensity on our team, as far as individuals go,” junior wing Jackie Martinez said. “We became a family this game. From the sophomores on up to the seniors, you saw everybody click. I think there is more a connection there.”
Martinez finished with 19 points, while Lozada-Cabbage added 18. The Demonettes forced 29 Lady Hawks turnovers overall.
The evening session was a mirror of the first semifinal, but with Valencia harassing the Lady Jaguars into turnover after turnover. The lead was 9-0 before the Lady Jaguars got their first basket with less than 2 minutes left, and a 6-1 run t o finish the second quarter made it 18-5 at the half.
Karina Dow exploded for 13 second-half points for Valencia and finished with 16 points, while Brenda Baeza added 13. Vivian Valencia led Capital (1-4) with five points.
Roswell Goddard 49, St. Michael’s 35
The Lady Horsemen (1-3) got off to a good start, leading 18-12 after the first quarter, but the offense went away after that. Goddard (2-3) outscored them 37-17 the rest of the way.
Christina Gabaldon had 11 points for St. Michael’s, while Alex Groenewold chipped in with 10.
Goddard had 14 from Abbie Black and 11 by Danielle Hubbard. Goddard plays Deming for fifth place at noon.
Deming 59, Santa Fe Preparatory 38
Olivia Cicci broke out with 16 points for the Blue Griffins (3-3), but she couldn’t do it alone. Deming (2-2) made her carry the load though.
The Lady Wildcats held leads of 15-8 after a quarter, 34-17 at the half and 49-25 entering the fourth.