Wednesday night, Jose Medina guarded his West Las Vegas team’s timeouts like they were precious jewels.
Instead of using them every time Santa Fe Indian made a run and threatened to take over the game, Medina simply watched and waited, barking out instructions from the WLV sideline.
It worked out fine. With few pauses in the action, the Lady Dons adjusted, never quite allowing the visiting Lady Braves to wrest control away in a 51-40 win at Gillie Lopez Gym.
In just the first District 2-3A game of the season for both squads, Wednesday’s game was signifcant in that it was a matchup of the No. 1 and No. 3 teams in Class 3A, two teams expected to contend not only for the district title but for greater glory come March.
Linda Esquibel, who led all scorers, put up eight of her 16 points in the first quarter.
After SFIS point guard Janine Coriz slashed to the bucket for the first hoop of the night, West scored the next 12 points.
Coriz ended the run with an old-fashioned three-point play, and the Lady Braves scored eight straight points and 12 of the next 14 to knot the game at 14-14 early in the second period.
With all the calm of a veteran coach who’s guided a talented and experienced team to a 14-1 record, Medina seemed to know his club would weather the storm. And it did. Esquibel scored on a putback. Then Brianna Montaño took a dish from Miranda Martinez to push the lead to 18-14. After SFIS tied it up again, Megan Martinez came off the bench and drilled a three-pointer, then scored on a putback. At half, West led 25-22.
Miranda Martinez swished a three to open the third quarter, and the Lady Dons — aggressive to the end — outscored the Lady Braves 18-8 in the quarter.
Miranda Martinez finished with 13 points, Vanessa Lucero had eight, Brianna Montaño six, Megan Martinez five, and Krystle Montaño three.
Coriz led SFIS with 13 and Miranda Medina added 11.
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In another district opener Wednesday night, Pojoaque beat Robertson 53-43 at Ben Lujan Gym in Jacona.
Elkette seniors Dionna Montoya and Marissa Romero accounted for 16 and 15 points, respectively.
“We turned the ball over too much,” said RHS coach Aunna Bradley. “That, and their two seniors really hurt us.”
Karlee Bradley led The Lady Cardinals with 13 points and four steals. Kassandra Tapia had 10 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Daniella Montoya chipped in eight points, four assists and three steals. Miranda Garcia had eight boards.