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The Pit or bust! Area teams tip off for the state basketball tournaments

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By Dave Kavanaugh

Ladies’ Night provided three victories in as many games for the Las Vegas-area girls’ basketball teams who qualified for the state tournaments.

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West Las Vegas and Robertson both triumphed at home in the Class 3A girls’ openers on Friday, while Mora held court as well in Class 2A.

It was a somewhat different story on Saturday, when the boys took center stage. Of the four Vegas-area squads in the mix, the West Las Vegas Dons emerged victorious. But the Robertson and Mora boys saw their seasons come to an end on the road.

• • •

West Las Vegas Lady Dons, the No. 5 seed in Class 3A girls’ basketball pulled away late to eliminate No. 12 Thoreau (17-10) by a 61-49 total Friday at Gillie Lopez Gym.

Thoreau matched up well early, got to the foul line frequently and led 19-13 with 2:53 left in the first quarter. Then a three-point play by Shania Gallegos sparked a 14-0 WLV run capped by Deanna Bustos’ 3-pointer.

Thoreau cut the spread to 34-32 before Jaylen Gutierrez’s three-point play and a bucket by Celeste Trujillo gave West some breathing room again.

Bustos and Gutierrez had 14 points apiece.

The Lady Dons (20-8) will meet Hope Christian in the Class 3A girls’ quarterfinals at 3 p.m. Tuesday at The Pit in Albuquerque.

• • •

The No. 8 seed Robertson Lady Cardinals (15-14) routed No. 9 Silver (17-10) by a 63-34 margin Friday at Mike Marr Gym.

A ferocious defensive effort in the first half, led by guards Erica Herrera and Celeste Trujillo, translated into leads of 13-2 after one quarter and 26-17 at the break.

The second half offered Silver little respite. Trujillo hit a 3-pointer to start a 7-0 RHS run as the third period got under way, and the visitors never made a real run.

Robertson advances to the Class 3A girls’ quarterfinals, but the prize for Friday’s win is a shot at top-ranked Shiprock. That game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Pit.

• • •

Class 2A’s No. 3 seed Mora Rangerettes (23-3) smashed No. 14 Tohatchi (15-12) by a 53-38 tally Friday at Montoya Gym.

Tohatchi hung close in the first half, trailing by just four at the break. But Destiny Pacheco scored 13 of her 19 points in the second half to help the home team pull away.

“Great defense in the second half,” Mora coach Mark Cassidy said of his squad.

Mora will play Hatch Valley in the Class 2A girls’ quarterfinals at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the Santa Ana Star Center.

• • •

No. 4 seed West Las Vegas Dons (18-8) outgunned No. 13 Thoreau (16-10) by a count of 84-63 Saturday afternoon at Gillie Lopez Gym.

It was 17-14 before Andres Gallegos buried a 3-ball to end the first period. As it turned out, that began a 15-2 West run that changed the complexion of the game.

D.J. Bustos notched 24 points for the Dons. Cody Najar scored 18, and Gallegos had 17.

The Dons tangle with Ruidoso, a 66-64 winner over Taos, at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Santa Ana Star Center.

• • •

The No. 15 seed Robertson Cardinals (10-17) lost 62-39 at No. 2 St. Michael’s (21-7) on Saturday at Perez-Shelley Gym in Santa Fe.

Sebastian Gonzales made a couple of early shots from the perimeter to get RHS out to a good start.

But it was 23-11 St. Mike’s after one quarter and 34-21 at halftime.

• • •

No. 6 seeded Mesilla Valley Christian (22-6) brought an end to the season of the No. 11 Mora Rangers (13-17) in the Class 2A boys’ basketball tournament Saturday in Las Cruces.

Mesilla Valley won 75-53 over a Rangers group loaded with underclassmen.

Although it was a single-digit margin after one period, it was 34-20 at intermission.