A dramatic six-point surge by Robertson in the last 43 seconds erased a four-point deficit and gave the Lady Cardinals a 49-47 breakthrough against Santa Fe Capital on Thursday night at Mike Marr Gym.
It’s a much-needed shot of confidence for Robertson (2-3), which had lost its last three games.
Capital (1-5) outplayed the still shorthanded Lady Cards much of the evening and appeared to have the game won when Erika Ortega completed an old-fashioned three-point play with 58 seconds left. Ortega’s free throw gave the Lady Jaguars a 47-43 advantage at that point.
But after Robertson managed to break Capital’s relentless press, RHS sharpshooter Kim Mares got open with 43 seconds to go. She knocked down a three-pointer to make it a one-point game.
Robertson, which also used the press liberally all evening, came up with a steal and Brooke Knezevich drew a quick foul. To that point, RHS had made just three of 13 free throw attempts in the period, and Knezevich herself had missed her last two just a couple minutes earlier.
But this time she calmly swished both charity tosses, putting her team up 48-47 with 35 seconds to go.
Ortega was called for a travel on the subsequent play, returning the ball to RHS, 16 ticks on the clock.
With five seconds left, Capital’s Sarah Romero sent Knezevich crashing to the floor with a hard foul. Knezevich rolled her right ankle on the play, aggravating an injury, and had to be helped off the court. Karlee Bradley took her place on the free-throw line and hit one of two shots for 49-47.
Capital’s Keisha Salinas missed a desperation heave at the buzzer.
Knezevich led all scorers with 15 points, eight in the final period. Mares scored 10 of her 14 in the fourth quarter. Miranda Garcia had eight, Jamie Allen seven, Marka Garcia and Natasha Lujan two apiece, and Bradley one.
Erika Ortega was the leading Lady Jag scorer with 13 points. Karla Gallegos had 12, Sarah Romero 10, Vandora Montoya seven and Amy Tafoya five.
Robertson is still without the services of injured starter Daniella Montoya, and Kassandra Tapia was not available for Thursday’s game.
Slow starts to each half again hurt Robertson. Capital led 5-0 on a steal and three-pointer by Romero. Allen gave the Lady Cards a spark off the bench early on, and they rallied, leading 14-12 after one period. Mares’ basket from the baseline gave RHS its largest lead at 18-12.
Capital responded with a 14-2 run — capped by the first two buckets of the second half — to go ahead 26-20.
The Lady Jags, up 32-30 through three quarters, led by seven, 41-34, with four and a half minutes left. But Knezevich and Mares stayed aggressive, attacking the basket, and Robertson chipped away at the lead, finally taking control.
Thursday in Socorro, the Robertson boys rolled past Magdalena 48-36 in the opening round of the “M” Mountain Classic.
RHS point guard Larry Romero led all scorers with 22 points. Clint Brayfield added eight and Justin Bustos seven for the Cardinals (1-1).
Robertson plays El Paso Eldorado at 6 p.m. Friday in the second round.