Kim Mares converted two free throws with 13 seconds remaining and the Lady Cardinal defense stuffed the Socorro Lady Warriors to preserve a 45-42 Robertson victory in girls' basketball action Saturday afternoon at Mike Marr Gym.
Robertson trailed 42-38 after Roxanne Silva's free throws with 2:27 left.
Baskets by Brooke Knezevich and Kassandra Tapia and tough defense led to a tie score. After a rare miss by Silva at the free-throw line, Knezevich hit drew a foul and made one of two charity tosses with 36 seconds left to give RHS a 43-42 edge.
Socorro was unable to get a clean shot off on the ensuing possession, and Mares got her hand on the ball to force a jump ball with 23 seconds left. That returned the ball to the Lady Cardinals and set up Mares' last trip to the line.
RHS coach Aunna Roanhaus, who'd guarded her team's timeouts, made judicious use of them in the closing minutes, setting her team up in key situations. The Lady Cards used an effective press to slow the Lady Warriors as they looked to regain control.
After Mares' free throws and the key defensive stop, Karlee Bradley safely delivered an inbounds pass and time ran out.
Unlike the teams' first meeting in early December at the Brian Gallegos Invite, this game stayed tight throughout. Socorro took a 16-13 lead after one period, and the score was 24-all at halftime; the Lady Warriors held a 33-31 edge after three quarters.
Knezevich and Tapia scored 14 apiece to lead Robertson, and Miranda Garcia chipped in with nine.
Silva was a force for Socorro with 24 points, 13 in the first half.
Judging by the outcome Saturday, Robertson has made major strides in a month's time. Socorro routed the Lady Cards 50-28 on Dec. 6 in the Brian Gallegos event.
Then, as now, the Lady Cards played without the injured Daniella Montoya, a key playmaker largely responsible for running the RHS offense.
Larry Romero scored 10 of his 15 points in the opening period Saturday night as Robertson routed visiting Laguna-Acoma 72-35.
The Cardinals bounced back from an eighth-place finish in the Stu Clark Tournament with an all-around effort that showed balance on offense and the team's usual strength, a scrappy but disciplined defense.
That defense held Laguna-Acoma to just four points in the first quarter and two in the third quarter. Only a bucket by Emilio Torivio with 45 seconds left in the third prevented a shutout in the period, but it left the Hawks still trailing 48-18 entering the fourth.
Justin Bustos led all scorers with 17 points. He and Romero accounted for all of the RHS scoring in the first period as the home team cruised to a 12-4 advantage.
Clint Brayfield added 11 for the Redbirds. Daryl Martinez, Mike Martinez and Jacob Quintana had six apiece, Antonio Arguello four, R.J. McNellis three and Placido Gomez and Robert Ross Romero two each.
Kiel Marmon led the Hawks with eight points. Marmon hit a three-pointer to start the second period, reducing the deficit to 12-7, but Bustos quickly answered. Then came an old-fashioned three-point play by Daryl Martinez, a new-fashioned three by Bustos, another Bustos hoop and scores by Mike Martinez and Brayfield -- for a 26-7 lead. By halftime, the Cards led 34-16.
RHS scored 14 straight points in the third, a run that ended on Torivio's basket.
The basketball 35-point running clock was triggered on a McNellis bucket that made it 61-25 with 4:21 left in the fourth. The margin reached its apex, 65-25, on a Larry Romero basket set up by Bustos.
Robertson and head coach David Bustos host a considerably tougher foe, Sandia Prep, on Tuesday evening. The Sundevils are the No. 2 rated team in Class 3A according to the most recent New Mexico GameDay poll.