Alexis Lovato makes the shot. Photo by George Morse with the Valley Daily Post.
Espanola Girls Bomb Belen With Record-Setting Performance
By George Morse Sports and Outdoors
The Espanola Valley High School girls basketball team launched an aerial assault on the Belen High school Lady Eagles in a dominating 84-31 victory Jan. 14 at Espanola. The Lady Sundevils sank a state-record 16 three-pointers.
“They were hot,” Espanola Coach Cindy Roybal said. “Even the fire department couldn’t cool them down.”
The old record had been 15 three-pointers in a game. Melrose High School was the first team to accomplish the feat in 2012. Los Lunas High School equaled that record last season. The Sundevils went both teams one better.
“It didn’t surprise me at all,” Coach Roybal said. “They showed me what I already knew. They’re all shooters.”
Leah DeAguero had five three-pointers that accounted for all of her 15 points. Alycia Archibeque tallied four three-pointers and Kaitlyn Romero had three. Kaylinn Martinez threw down two long bombs, while Celina Velasquez and Marina Padilla dropped one apiece on the Eagles.
Alycia Archibeque nailed this 3 pointer. Photo by George Morse with the Valley Daily Post
“They ran the offense almost to perfection,” Coach Roybal said. “Pass, pass, pass find the open shot and shoot.”
Coupled with a defense that forced turnover after turnover, providing the offense with extra chances, the Sundevils all but sealed the win after the first quarter. The score was tied 2-2 when Velasquez started the barrage with a three-pointer, followed by four more three-pointers as the Sundevils ran out to a 30-3 lead after one quarter. Four more three-pointers followed in the second quarter as Espanola took a dominating 50-13 lead at halftime.
The 37-point lead instituted a running clock, which goes into effect after a team has taken a 35-point lead, in the second half. The Sundevils could have had even more three-pointers than they finished with had the entire game been played under regular rules, which stops the clock during free throws and inbounds plays.
Kaitlyn Romero. Photo by George Morse with the Valley Daily Post
Roybal has coached at the collegiate and high school level, winning back-to-back state championships at Santa Fe Indian School in 2010 and 2011. The record-setting performance by the Sundevils marks another milestone in her career.
“One thing I hadn’t done was breaking a state record,” she said.
The Sundevils improved to 13-3 on the season with the win against the hapless Eages, who fell to 4-11 on the season. Romero finished with 18 points, while Archibeque had 17 points.
“The kids are all excited,” Coach Roybal said. “They’re in the record book. It’s a special thing. It can’t be taken away from them.”