McCurdy Girls Beat Dulce For District 2-3A Title

Lady Bobcats district champs copy
McCurdy girls pose for their district championship photo. Courtesy photo

McCurdy Girls Beat Dulce For District 2-3A Title

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

The McCurdy Charter School Lady Bobcats were ranked just 15th in the state and only 16 teams from across the state are selected to play in the Class 3A girls state basketball tournament. Another loss and the Lady Bobcats faced the very real possibility of staying home for the postseason.

One way to make sure that McCurdy made it to the postseason would be to win the District 2-3A girls basketball tournament. To do so, McCurdy faced the daunting task of having to defeat Dulce High School in the championship game Feb. 25 at Dulce. The Lady Hawks had already defeated McCurdy three times during the regular season, with each defeat being progressively worse than the last. The most recent loss was a 68-39 beatdown Feb. 17 at McCurdy. Dulce had wrapped up the regular season District 2-3A title and a spot in the Class 3A state tournament.

Proving that the past is the past, the Lady Bobcats did the unlikely and defeated the Lady Hawks 64-60 to win the District 2-3A tournament. McCurdy punched its ticket to the 2017 Class 3A state tournament.

“It was do or die,” junior guard Karla Santos said.

Santos had 21 points to lead the Lady Bobcats, including 18 in the second half.

“This time, we just wanted it really bad,” Santos said. “We never got down. We never let ourselves get down.

Trailing 32-28 at halftime, the Lady Bobcats took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Hawks 23-16 to take a 51-48 lead. Santos had 11 points and Serena Barela chipped in with five after scoring nine points in the second quarter.

“She (Barela) had a quiet 19 points,” McCurdy Coach Ron Sanchez said. ‘They used a box-and-one defense on Karla and she still had 21 points. She went after it super hard and shared the ball well.”

It was more than just a two-player effort.

“The whole team played with heart,” Coach Sanchez said. “These girls showed up to play.”

In the fourth quarter, McCurdy had three starters on the bench. Marissa Sandoval had suffered a concussion, while Avianna Maes and Alyssa Edmunds (11 points) had fouled out. Freshman Devyn Cordova and Jayme Bustos helped McCurdy hold off the Hawks. Santos sank 7-of-10 free throws and Barela added five more “quiet” points in the fourth quarter.

“We played as a team,” Barela said.

One of the keys to McCurdy’s second-half comeback was defense. Dulce likes to shoot three-pointers. The Hawks hit three long bombs in the first half, but had no three-pointers in the second half.

‘In the first half, we were a little late with our assignments,” Coach Sanchez said. “In the second half, we went with a high 3-2 zone. We went after every loose ball and they were diving on the floor.”

A key play came with about a minute and a half left in the game and the Bobcats were trailing by a point.

“Dulce grabbed a rebound and we reached around and tied up the ball,” Coach Sanchez said. “On our next possession, Karla scored. That put us ahead and we never lost the lead after that.”

McCurdy had to do it in a hostile environment.

“It was really loud,” Coach Sanchez said. “They (Dulce) have a good fan base and they pack the gym.”

McCurdy did not make it to state last season. All the starters for McCurdy are underclassmen.

“This is a fun group to coach,” Coach Sanchez said.

Dulce will still go to the state tournament and received a ninth seed. The Lady Hawks will face eighth-seeded Cuba High School Friday at Cuba.

McCurdy improved its position in the seeding in the state tournament as well as earning a spot in the tournament. The Lady Bobcats are seeded 12th and will play fifth-seeded Laguna-Acoma Friday at Laguna

The McCurdy boys team couldn’t duplicate what the McCurdy girls did and lost to Dulce 64-49 in the District 2-3A boys basketball tournament championship game Feb. 25 at Dulce. McCurdy will advance to the Class 3A state basketball tournament as a 14th seed and will play third-seeded Santa Rosa High School Saturday in Santa Rosa.

McCurdy’s Lucas Samora scores against Santa Fe Prep. Photo by George Morse

McCurdy advanced to the championship game by defeating Santa Fe Prep 57-39 Feb. 23 at McCurdy in the District2-3A tournament semifinals. Leading 18-11 at halftime, McCurdy took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring Prep 26-13 to take a 44-24 lead into the fourth quarter. Ubaldo Barela le McCurdy with 25 points.

McCurdy’s Ubaldo Barela scored 25 points against Santa Fe Prep.McCurdy beat Prep 57-39, but lost to Dulce 64-49 in the District 2-3A tournament championship game. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post