Strong First Half Carries Pojoaque To Victory

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Pojoaque’s Michaela Martinez battles under the boards against a trio of Lady Hilltoppers in the Elkettes 48-35 victory over Los Alamos Feb. 23 in Los Alamos. Pojoaque wins the District 2-4A regular season title with the victory (photo by John McHale).


 The Lady Hilltoppers couldn’t overcome a 33-15 halftime lead by Pojoaque. The Elkettes used a balanced attack to offset the one-dimensional offense of Los Alamos, which depended heavily on the scoring of Rebecca (Becca) Green.

Green scored the first two points of the game, but that was the only lead Los Alamos would enjoy.  Displaying the type of teamwork that has characterized the Elkettes all season, Pojoaque put together an 8-0 run during which four different players scored for Pojoaque. Ashten Martinez started the run followed by baskets from Adrianna Quintana and Taylor Roybal. Michaela Martinez finished the run with a nice backdoor layup off a sweet assist from Alicia Sanchez. By the end of the first quarter six different players had scored for Pojoaque while only Green scored for Los Alamos.  The Elkettes led 15-6 at the end of the first quarter.

“I think we threw them off a little,” Pojoaque Coach Seledon Martinez said. “We were able to contain Becca slightly better.”

Pojoaque extended its lead in the second quarter. The cold-shooting Hilltoppers still had trouble scoring. In an earlier victory Feb. 5 over the Elkettes 55-48 at Pojoaque, Los Alamos sank eight three-pointers to compliment the inside scoring of Green. In this game, shot-after-shot was off the mark. Los Alamos did not make a three-pointer during the game.

Pojoaque got three-pointers from Camille Cordova and Roybal. Quintana had an old-fashioned, three-point play. At the end of the second quarter, Pojoaque had built a 33-15 lead.

As it turned out, the Elkettes would need that big lead to stay comfortably ahead in the second half. Pojoaque suffered through one of its mysterious scoring droughts that have plagued the Elkettes throughout the season. After taking a 39-18 lead in the third quarter, Pojoaque went cold. Los Alamos put together a 9-0 run to make the score 39-27 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Hilltoppers could not sustain that momentum. Green was held scoreless in the fourth quarter. Despite scoring just 15 points in the second half, the Elkettes maintained a comfortable double-digit lead throughout the third and fourth quarters.

Green led all scorers with 17 points. None of Los Alamos’ other players scored more than four points. Quintana led the Elkettes with 12 points. Michaela Martinez added 11 points for Pojoaque. The Hilltoppers once again struggled at the free-throw line, sinking just 7-of-19 charity tosses.

“I think we wanted this one too much,” Los Alamos Coach Lanse Carter said. “We were too tight.”

Carter was the coach at Pojoaque when the Elkettes won back-to-back Class 3A state championships (2008-2009).

The Elkettes finished the regular season with a fine 18-4 record and are ranked fourth in Class 4A.

“We weren’t coming this far to be denied,” Coach Martinez said. “When was the last time Pojoaque was district champion. It might have been when (Los Alamos Coach) Lanse (Carter) was here. Los Alamos has good kids and good coaches. It’s fitting to take one from him.”

Pojoaque's Ashten Martinez brings the ball downcourt against Los Alamos (photo by John McHale).

Pojoaque point guard Taylor Roybal dribbles past a Los Alamos defender (photo by John McHale).

The Pojoaque Valley Elkettes pose with the blue trophy for winning the District 2-4A regular season title with a 48-35 victory over Los Alamos Feb. 23 in Los Alamos.