Mora rallies, but Lady Dons roll

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By Dave Kavanaugh

Monique Duran and her Mora Rangerette teammates put up a fight but it was for naught against Class 3A’s top-ranked team.

West Las Vegas came out unscathed from its Tuesday night game against Mora, the No. 7 team in Class 2A, winning 54-43 at Gillie Lopez Gym.

With the WLV offense on auto-pilot, Mora played well enough to stay within one good run of making it a game with the Lady Dons. However, the Lady Don defense ensured that run would never be made. Blanketing Duran in the post and daring the Rangerettes to fire from outside, West contested most rebounds and harassed the Mora guards into turnovers all game.

All of 5-6 but a tough player in the post, Duran scored 19 points, including eight in the third quarter, to lead Mora.

But the Lady Dons had too much firepower and too many ways to nab a victory; they got their points without necessarily having their best performance.

Vanessa Lucero had two buckets and Linda Esquibel and Brianna Montaño slashed to the hoop as WLV scored the game’s first eight points.

Duran drove to the basket for Mora’s first points with 4:13 left in the first period, and Andrea Romero connected to make it 10-4. Then West went on an 11-2 run; Montaño’s basket to begin the second quarter made the score 21-6.

Duran and Jaynae Vigil gave the Rangerettes a 6-0 run to get their team within nine before Miranda Martinez drilled a three-pointer to punch the West lead back to double digits. Esquibel put an exclamation point on the half by beating the buzzer on a three-ball to make it 33-15.

Mora battled back to outscore WLV in the third, leading off with Jessica Garcia’s three-pointer. Romero added another trey midway through the period, and Duran had six points as the Rangerettes closed the quarter on a 7-0 run to make it 45-30.

Michelle Montaño, one of several Lady Don reserves who saw playing time in the second half, opened the fourth by scoring on a lob from Martinez. Then Esquibel hit another three to extend the margin to 20 points at 50-30.

Allowed some daylight along the perimeter, Mora tried to shoot its way back into the game. Franceska Alexander hit twice from mid-range as the visitors got within 50-36, and a few minutes later Garcia made another three-pointer. Angel Valencia swished back-to-back buckets to continue a 7-0 Mora run that ended the game.

Unofficial scoring, WLV: Linda Esquibel, 16; Brianna Montaño, 10; Vanessa Lucero, 9; Miranda Martinez, 8; Krystle Montaño, 4; Michelle Montaño, 4; Megan Martinez, 2; Maya Roybal, 1.

Mora: Monique Duran, 19; Andrea Romero, 7; Jessica Garcia, 6; Franceska Alexander, 4;, Angel Valencia, 4; Jaynae Vigil, 3.

Coach David Salcido’s Rangerettes visit Coronado this coming Tuesday, then prepare for a tournament at Hope Christian in Albuquerque.

West Las Vegas has a big matchup with Lovington on Friday afternoon. Both teams are ranked No. 1 in Class 3A according to the New Mexico High School Coaches Association.