Elkettes Fall To St. Mike’s In Tournament Championship

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Taylor Roybal making a layup against Wingate. Photo by George Morse with the Valley Daily Post

Elkettes Fall To St. Mike’s In Tournament Championship

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

The Pojoaque Valley High School Elkettes had no trouble scoring points in the first two rounds of the Ben Lujan Tournament at Pojoaque, beating Socorro High School by nearly 40 points 56-17 in the opening round Dec. 17 and then defeating Wingate High School 59-39 in the semifinals Dec. 18 to advance to the championship game Dec. 19 against St. Michael’s High School.

Aaliya Casados and Rachael Garcia against Wingate. Photo by George Morse with the Valley Daily Post

The Elkettes should have saved some of those points for the game against the Lady Horsemen. Pojoaque couldn’t put the ball in the basket for three quarters and trailed 22-11 heading into the fourth quarter. The Elkettes staged a remarkable comeback in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t overcome their woeful start and lost 35-29 to St. Michael’s, which claimed its third straight Ben Lujan Tournament title. 

“It hurt them to lose,” Pojoaque Coach Seledon Martinez said. “They’re giving me what they have.”

It was a close game in the first quarter, as the Lady Horsemen also had trouble putting points on the board. Pojoaque trailed by just one point 7-6 going into the second quarter.

That quarter would prove to be disastrous for the Elkettes. Pojoaque didn’t put a point on the board and trailed 13-6 at halftime.

The woeful shooting continued into the third quarter. Pojoaque had missed 20 shots from the field and was just 4-of-13 from the free throw line, falling behind 20-6 before Aaliya Casados managed to convert an old-fashioned, three-point play with 3:55 left in the third quarter. The Elkettes trailed 22-11 heading into the fourth quarter.

Then the shots started falling. Justice Ainsworth nailed a three-pointer, then followed that score by sinking a runner in the lane. A pair of free throws by Casados made the score 22-18 with 4:40 left to play in the game.

Jocelyn Fernandez, who had 11 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter, scored for St. Michael’s. Other Pojoaque players started to contribute. Baskets by Rachael Garcia, Kaylee Salazar and Felyse Cordova answered two baskets and a free throw by Fernandez. After sinking a free throw, Casados stripped the ball away from Fernandez at midcourt and drove in for a layup that made the score 29-27 in favor of the Horsemen.

The Elkettes never got closer. The Horsemen were able to take time off the clock and were money from the free-throw line. Jodi Gormley nailed a pair of free throws and Fernandez was 4-of-4 from the charity stripe to put the game away for the Horsemen.

Pojoaque will visit the Horsemen’s home when they return to the court for the Lady Horsemen Tournament hosted by St. Michael’s Dec. 28-Dec. 30 in Santa Fe