It was a barn burner in Albuquerque as the Alamo Navajo Lady Cougars visited the Evangel Christian Lady Eagles. The Lady Eagles went up early, but Alamo Navajo clawed its way back into the game and almost got the win. It was not quite enough as they lost 48-43.
Edward Khader, who coaches both the boys and girls teams for Evangel, was expecting a good performance by his team against the visiting Lady Cougars.
“I think our girls are playing great,” he said. “We’re finally healthy and these girls play with a lot of heart out there. But Alamo’s a good team. We played in the first game of the season and they gave it to us. They’re well coached and they’ve got a lot of talent that includes three really good scorers. They’re going to be a real challenge for us today.”
Alamo had an early 4-2 lead off of two big shots by sophomore Claire Apachito. Christian sophomore Arista Benavidez hit a big three minutes later that put the Lady Eagles up five. Junior Hailey Apachito hit a shot as the seconds winded down to make it a one-point game going into the second quarter.
Junior Elliana Guerro scored first in the quarter. Then sophomore Edan Rogers began to take the game over for the Lady Eagles. She was aggressive down low while also hitting from the perimeter. Hailey had a big block and transition feed to Claire who scored it to end the half 23-19 Lady Eagles.
The second half had Christian surge quick to a double-digit lead. The dominating Rogers was warned by the ref for using foul language. A three from Hailey made it a single digit deficit. Then late in the game the Lady Cougars went on a run with Hailey hitting a shot to tie things up. Rogers said no way, with big plays on both ends and the Lady Eagles ended it.
“We were able to win by working together as a team,” Rogers said. “Tonight I just realized that I do have talent and keeping that mentality in the game. My team supports me and I hold myself accountable to fight hard against an opponent.”
The Alamo team went into the locker room heads down. Hailey Apachito’s demeanor was disappointment after having such a solid performance.
“No excuses, but we didn’t have our full roster,” she said. “We’re still trying to work together as a young team. We kept our heads up and listened to coach, which is why we were able to come back and make it close.”
After an extensive talk with the players in the locker room after the game, head coach Randy Hunt found positives in the loss.
“To be that close within 30 seconds is something that we learn from,” he said. “Gotta give credit to the Christian players. They drove to the basket which we were not expecting. That number 12 Rogers is one of the best players we’ve faced all season. We came here and gave it our best shot. We don’t feel bad about this one.”
The loss puts the Alamo Navajo Lady Cougars at 8-10 on the season. Entering district play, their next game is Feb. 12 at Hondo Valley. They will be at home two days later for an afternoon showdown against Mountainair.
A District 3 Standings:
- Alamo Navajo; 8-10.
- Carrizozo; 5-13.
- Hondo Valley; 1-10.