Pojoaque Humbles Hilltoppers

by Staff Reporter / Nov 27, 2017 / comments
Pojoaque’s Ashten Martinez dribbles against a Los Alamos defender. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Pojoaque Humbles Hilltoppers

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

The Pojoaque Valley High School girls basketball team is off to its best start in three years after beating Los Alamos High School 60-27 Nov. 25 at Pojoaque to improve to 3-0 on the season. The Elkettes have yet to be seriously tested by their opponents so far this season. Pojoaque defeated Capital High School 52-30 Nov. 16 in their opening game and blew out Sandia Prep High School 80-36 Nov. 18 at Pojoaque before humiliating the previously undefeated Lady Hilltoppers.

Pojoaque’s Dallas Archibald drives the lane against Los Alamos. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

After back-to-back losing seasons, Pojoaque seems ready to fulfill the promise that Coach Seledon Martinez saw when he took over in the 2015-2016 season. Martinez had a team comprised primarily of freshmen and sophomores that first season that are now juniors and seniors.

“I’ve been teaching them for two years,” Coach Martinez said. “This is the first year I get to do some coaching. I like the fact that they’ve matured a little bit. They’ve taken ownership of what they do on and off the court.”

What the Elkettes did on the court was press the hapless Hilltoppers into turnovers starting with Los Alamos’ very first possession. That led to scoring opportunities. Initially, Pojoaque couldn’t put the ball in the basket. They did, however, draw fouls. The Elkettes took a 6-0 lead by sinking 6-of-6 from the free-throw line.

Pojoaque’s Shania Thronas shoots a baseline jumper against Los Alamos. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Eventually, the Elkettes began to finish under the basket and took a 12-0 lead before the Hilltoppers finally got on the scoreboard with less than a minute left in the first quarter. The Elkettes led 14-2 at the end of the first quarter and six different players contributed to those 14 points.

“Look for the jersey, not the face,” Coach Martinez said.  ‘Whoever is open gets the ball. When you do that and you’re not jealous, good things happen. The score that matters is the one up here (at the top of the scorebook).”

There was no letup in Pojoaque’s persistent pressure and in the second quarter the Elkettes extended their lead to 22-2 after a basket by Ashten Martinez. Los Alamos started throwing up three-pointers and got a rare four-point play from Alex Calderon. Pojoaque junior Taylor Roybal, one of those freshmen that began with Martinez two years ago, threw in a three-pointer to answer and the Elkettes still led by 20 points 33-13 at halftime. By now, nine players had scored for the Elkettes.

Pojoaque’s Taylor Roybal eyes the basket against Los Alamos. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Pojoaque took a breather in the third quarter and only scored nine points. The only highlight for Pojoaque was Dallas Archibald sinking all three of her free throws after being fouled behind the arc.

Pojoaque’s Dallas Archibald drives in for a layup against Los Alamos. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Los Alamos couldn’t gain any ground and still trailed by 20 points 42-22 going into the fourth quarter.

With Roybal running the point, the Elkettes pulled away again in the fourth quarter. Roybal hit a pair of sweet pullup jumpers and the Elkettes continued to find the open player for inside shots and breakaway layups. When Hennesse Calabaza sank a pair of free throws and Jenessa Chacon scored inside with seconds left in the game, all 11 players on Pojoaque’s roster had put points in the scoreboard.

Pojoaque’s Jenessa Chacon looks to score inside against Los Alamos. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Roybal led Pojoaque with 13 points. Archibald had 11 points and Michaela Martinez added 10 points for the Elkettes. Pojoaque was a solid 19-of-23 from the free-throw line.

Pojoaque’s Taylor Roybal pulls up to shoot a jumper against Los Alamos. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

“Tonight was our turn,” Coach Martinez said. “We still have a lot of stuff to work on. We’ll do our best to keep on improving. If we do that we’re going to be in the mix. I consider this a potential championship-caliber team.”

Pojoaque’s Shania Thronas drives against Los Alamos. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Pojoaque will likely improve to 4-0 after their next game against Bernalillo High School, which is 0-3 and still looking for its first win. The Elkettes will be tested when they compete in the Alice King Memorial Invitational Tournament Dec. 7 where they will face a solid Class 5A St. Pius X High School in the opening round at Moriarty High School.