By George Morse
The Pojoaque Valley High School Elkettes remain unbeaten in District 2-4A after defeating Los Alamos High School 44-39 Feb. 4 at Los Alamos. The Elkettes are 4-0 in District 2-4A.
It was a back-and-forth battle that began with Pojoaque looking like it was going to run away with the game. Utilizing a pressure defense, the Elks created turnovers and capitalized on them. After Anissa Herrera’ three-pointer started the scoring for Pojoaque, Hennessie Calabaza and Michaela Martinez took over for the Elkettes. With the score tied 5-5, Pojoaque ran off nine unanswered points with Calabaza contributing five points and Martinez four. The Elkettes led 14-5 by the end of the first quarter.
After Martinez started the second quarter with a steal and layup, the lead was 16-5 and the Hilltopperswere gasping for air.Los Alamos took some deep breaths and battled its way back. It started with a driving layupalong the baseline by Natalie Gallegos. Post Becca Green scored inside. A basket by Michaela Gonzales and another Green basket from the paint made it an 8-0 run. It became 10-0 on a layup by Hannah Sanchez. Los Alamos had fought back to within a point of Pojoaque 16-15 and it was now a ball game.
“We rushed some shots,” Pojoaque Coach Seledon Martinez said. “Took some shots without players in rebounding positions.”
A driving scoop layup by Calabaza finally stopped the bleeding. After a Los Alamos free throw, Michaela Martinez nailed a three-pointer that gave the Elkettes a 21-16 lead at halftime.
After Pojoaque took a 27-20 lead following two free throws by Ashten Martinez, Los Alamos made another run. Gonzales got things rolling with an old-fashioned, three-point play. Gallegos drilled a three-pointer from the wing. Michelle Macias hit a pair of free throws at the 1:45 mark of the third quarter to give Los Alamos its first lead of the game. Jenee Montoya’s basket extended Los Alamos’ run to 10 unanswered points. It gave the Hilltoppers a 30-27 lead.
Coach Martinez moved some players around, putting Michaela Martinez at high post and moving Herrera to point guard. He wanted his players to drive more and draw fouls. Michaela Martinez did just that, drawing a foul and hitting two free throws that made the score 30-29 in favor of Los Alamos heading into the fourth quarter.
Herrera started the fourth quarter driving in for a layup and drawing a foul. She made the free throw for an old-fashioned, three-point play that put Pojoaque in front 32-30. Michaela Martinez followed with two free throws. Green scored inside for the Hilltoppers and Gallegos added a free throw. Two more free throws by Michaela Martinez made the score 36-33 in favor of Pojoaque.
Green answered by going up strong in the paint for a pair of baskets. Her second score put Los Alamos in front 37-36 with 2:40 left n the game.
Michaela Martinez put the Elkettes back in front with a basket. Pojoaque’s Tonni Aguino added two more free throws for a 40-37 lead with 1:19 left in the game. Los Alamos’ Sanchez converted a Pojoaque turnover into a basket to make the score 40-39 with less than a minute left in the game.
Ashten Martinez sank two free throws with 11 seconds left in the game to put the Elkettes ahead 42-39. Los Alamos turned the ball over on their ensuing possession and Michaela Martinez drove the final nails into the Hilltoppers’ coffin with two more free throws for a 44-39 victory.
Ojoaque parade to the free-throw line in the fourth quarter carried the Elkettes to victory.pojoaque wasdeadly accurate from the line, sinking 11-of-11 in the fourth quarter. The Elkettes finished the game an impressive 20-of-22 from the free-throw line.
Michaela Martinez led the Elkettes with 19 points. Calabaza finished with 11 points. Green had 17 points for Los Alamos.
Pojoaque is 16-5 on the season and in first place in District 2-4A with a 4-0 record. Los Alamos is 11-9 on the year and 2-2 in District 2-4A. The Hilltoppers are in third place in District 2-4A. Espanola Valley High School is in second place with a 3-1 district record.
Pojoaque is 5-1 in district play with a loss to Espanola earlier this week and a commanding win at home last night against the Taos Lady Tigers, 61-48. Next up for the Elkettes is Moriarty on the road next Tuesday, Feb. 17.