For a time Thursday night, the Robertson Lady Cardinals were trading punches evenly with the defending champs and even briefly had them on the ropes.
Too bad for RHS fans that fights aren’t decided in one round, at least not without a knockout.
After trailing most of the openng quarter, the visiting Pojoaque Valley Elkettes slugged their way out of trouble. Robertson’s dynamic duo of Brooke Knezevich and Kassandra Tapia led the Lady Cards to 5-0 and 7-2 leads before Pojoaque’s balanced group stopped turning the ball over and started putting it into the hoop. Pojo rode an 8-0 run to grab the lead. After Kim Mares tied it 10-10 by hitting a three-pointer from the left side, Pojo closed strong to end the quarter ahed 14-10.
Karlee Bradley’s three-pointer with 1:50 left in the second period capped a 9-2 Robertson rally, and the Lady Cards regained control at 21-19. But Bradley’s trey seemed to inspire the Elkette shooters. Ellen Cruz, Marissa Romero and Nicole Gonzales each drilled a three to constitute a 9-0 run to finish the half for a 28-21 Pojo lead.
In a devastating third quarter, the Elkettes outscored their hosts 15-1 to transform a 28-21 slugfest into the 59-33 TKO that it eventually became.
Jacqueline Bartleson, a quiet force in the middle at 6-2, tallied 16 points for the Elkettes. Cruz and Dionna Montoya had 9 each. Kiana Vigil scored 8, all in the fourth period.
Brooke Knezevich scored 14 points, including a pretty three-point play off a fast-break feed from Tapia with 2:45 left. Marka Garcia added 6.
Also Thursday night, a nip-and-tuck clash between visiting West Las Vegas and Santa Fe Indian School was one of the most exciting games to date.
SFIS, led by former New Mexico Highlands coach Cindy Roybal, prevailed 56-53.
The game nearly required overtime, but the Lady Dons missed twice from three-point land in the closing seconds.
West enjoyed the lead for stretches throughout the game. At intermission, WLV was up 27-25. The Lady Braves rallied and had a 38-34 lead midway through the third. Then West answered the call and by period’s end held a 42-41 edge.
Lady Don leader Kristen Encinias went down with an injury, hurting the team’s chances down the stretch, and SFIS regained the lead, 48-47 midway through the final frame.
The Lady Braves stretched their lead to three, 54-51, before West narrowed it to 55-53 with 24 seconds left. But the Lady Dons had to foul, and SFIS made a free throw to force West to shoot from long range as time ran down.
Friday night, Robertson’s boys visit St. Michael’s in Santa Fe, while West Las Vegas is at Raton. The Cardinals lost 60-53 Wednesday at Pojoaque, also a defending state champ. The Dons are 1-0 in district after pulling out a 65-61 triumph over visiting Santa Fe Indian.