One step back, one step forward

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By Dave Kavanaugh

Maybe games on back-to-back days isn’t such a bad idea, at least not when the first one doesn’t go your way.

On Saturday, the West Las Vegas Lady Dons picked up some quick redemption, ending a two-game slide in the District 2-3A schedule with a 48-35 victory over crosstown rival Robertson at Mike Marr Gym.

Because of last week’s snowstorm, the schools postponed the game — originally set for Thursday — to Saturday afternoon. Both teams had played Friday night, with the Lady Dons losing 57-52 at Santa Fe Indian and the Lady Cardinals dropping a 37-36 heartbreaker to Pojoaque.

Neither side seemed any worse for wear on Saturday, at least not in terms of energy level. But West’s ability to score either inside or outside opened a modest lead in the early going. And a series of Robertson turnovers only served to expand the difference between the two.

Vanessa Lucero scored 10 of her 18 points in the pivotal second quarter as the Lady Dons grew a three-point lead to a 16-point spread — 28-12 — at halftime.

Remarkably, Lucero scored nine of those points in a span of two minutes and 47 seconds, at one point banking a three-point shot off the glass and then scoring a layup seconds later after a steal.

The Lady Cards opened with a spark, as Eliana Herrera drilled a three-ball to stake RHS to the early lead. But for a while, only Kassandra Tapia seemed to find the hoop for Robertson. Aside from Herrera’s three, only Tapia hit from the floor in the first half, and most of the time she had either Lucero or another Lady Don in the way.

Tapia’s putback ended the first period with West leading 11-7. But in the second, the Lady Dons surged, picking off RHS passes and converting the turnovers into extra scoring chances.

Held scoreless — although she did have a couple nice assists — in the first half, Daniella Montoya began to find her shooting rhythm in the third quarter. She completed a three-point play midway through the quarter, which saw each team held to seven points.

Linda Esquibel, Miranda Martinez and Lucero each scored in a 7-0 WLV run to begin the final period for a 42-19 cushion.

Montoya rallied the Lady Cards back, and she scored 10 of her 15 points in the fourth quarter to cut a 24-point deficit in half before time ran out on RHS.

West’s win kept the Lady Dons (18-3, 4-2) within a game of district leaders SFIS and Pojoaque (both 5-1). Robertson slipped to 9-11, 2-4, tied with St. Michael’s for fourth. Raton is sixth (0-6).

Notes: Esquibel scored 27 Friday in a losing effort at SFIS. That was the second straight defeat for a Lady Dons team that had previously been unbeaten vs. Class 3A teams.

Karlee Bradley had 13 and Montoya 10 Friday vs. Pojoaque. RHS led 28-22 through three periods.