For the third time in as many seasons, the Mora Rangerettes are Northern Rio Grande Tournament champions.
That’s a matter for historical perspective. For the here and now, it’s worth noting that the tournament victory represented Win No. 9, as in a 9-0 start to the season.
“Our success has been due to good team play,” said Mora head coach Mark Cassidy. “All the girls are contributing with defense and rebounding.”
While Mora had to replace its leading scorer and one of its leading playmakers from 2012-13 — lost to graduation — the team-first concept has been as evident as ever for the Rangerettes.
Brianna Pacheco compiled 47 points and 30 rebounds in the tournament, which finished Saturday in Jacona. Gerty Herrera had 40 points and Destiny Pacheco 33 points and 27 rebounds in three games.
While the Rangerettes made relatively quick work of their first two foes, Coronado and McCurdy, they encountered a good challenge from district nemesis Pecos in Saturday’s championship game. The Lady Panthers led 18-16 at halftime before Mora came out with a strong third quarter to claim control, 31-24. After an evenly played final period, Mora emerged with a 41-34 victory.
Gerty Herrera led the Rangerettes with 14 points and six rebounds. Brianna Pacheco added a double-double of 12 points and 11 boards. Eight Mora girls contributed either scoring or rebounding in the championship contest.
Mora parlayed a 28-8 first-half cushion against Coronado into a 59-28 win in Thursday’s tournament opener; Destiny Pacheco accounted for 22 points and Brianna Pacheco 13 points and seven boards. Herrera and Shauntae Rivera were credited with four assists apiece in that game.
Mora outgunned McCurdy in every period Friday in the NRG semifinals en route to a 63-42 tally. Brianna Pacheco scored 22 and Herrera added 16. Brianna and Destiny Pacheco combined for two dozen rebounds, and Herrera had six steals and four assists, both team highs.
Pecos (4-5) had to improvise after KeeAnna Trujillo went down with an injury early in the game, and Ida Valencia led the Lady Panthers in scoring.
Mora has reached the finals of the NRG for each of the last seven seasons, Cassidy noted.
Next up for the Rangerettes is a Thursday night game at Clayton. The Yellow Jackets should be a good test, as they defeated Class 3A Robertson 49-40 on Friday in the third-place game of their own tournament this past weekend.
Pecos got to the NRG final by beating Mesa Vista 47-31 and Peñasco 56-30. Leroy Barela’s club was to play at Santa Rosa Tuesday.