By George Morse
The Espanola Valley High School Lady Sundevils defeated Moriarty High School 63-44 to even their District 2-4A record at 1-1 Jan. 24 at Espanola. The Sundevils did what they needed to do, which was defend their home court, after losing to Pojoaque Valley High School 54-45 in their District 2-4A opener Jan. 21 at Pojoaque.
”I’m pleased with the effort, the intensity,” Espanola Coach Joe Estrada said. “We came out a lot stronger, a lot quicker. They were playing the way we want them to play.”
Espanola jumped out to a 7-0 lead to start the game. Espanola sank three three-pointers in the first quarter and led 17-5 going into the second quarter. The hot-shooting Sundevils continued their long-range barrage, hitting vive more three-pointers. Miranda Salazar had three three-pointers, while Destiny Valdez and Christiana Sandoval each had two. Anita DeAguero had one. Espanola led 39-20 at halftime.
Rhianna Padilla added her name in the third quarter to the list of Sundevils who made three-pointers. Espanola took its biggest lead of the game 50-23 and Coach Estrada emptied his bench. Espanola led 53-31 heading into the fourth quarter.
Moriarty managed to cut the lead to under 20 points in the fourth quarter as the Sundevils were content to take time off the clock and concentrate on their dribble-and-drive offense. Two free throws by Kiana Duran finished off the rout. Espanola shot just 11 free throws during the game, sinking six of them. The Sundevils improved to 11-9 overall.
Salazar led Espanola with 14 points. DeAguero and Duran each had 11 points for the Sundevils.
“We’re still a work in progress,” Coach Estrada said.
Espanola faces Los Alamos High School Thursday (Jan. 30) at Los Alamos in its next District 2-4A game. The Lady Hilltoppers survived a battle with Moriarty Jan. 21, pulling out a 58-54 win in overtime at Los Alamos. Los Alamos is 10-6 overall and 1-0 in District 2-4A.