ALAMO – The Lady Cougars scored the final nine points to break away from Mescalero as Alamo Navajo defended its home turf with a 58-49 win over the Chiefs on Jan. 7.
In a game that seemed like it could go either way, Alamo was down 46-41 with 4:32 left, a contest where both teams had enjoyed three-possession leads.
The game was all tied up at 24-24 after the first half as Sapphira Sandoval, Elliana Guerro and Koolonna Apachito got things rolling, and the Lady Cougars established a 14-10 advantage. The four-point lead would disappear despite Hailey Apachito and Janea Vicente getting involved in Alamo’s scoring.
The lead changed several times in the third quarter, and Sandoval began finding the basket as she scored 12 of her game-high 17 points after the first half.
As the time began to wane, the fouls also began to pile up, and the Lady Cougars were on target at the charity stripe.
“We were struggling with free throws all season long, and this is probably the most we made in the game, which tells me the practice has been paying off,” Alamo coach J.J. Apachito said. “We have spent as much as an hour in practices working on free throws.”
The Lady Cougars hit 9-of-13 at the line in the second half as Hailey Apachito, Sandoval, Guerro and Claire Apachito took advantage of the Mescalero miscues.
With the score tied at 49-49, Alamo took over as Sandoval drilled a three-pointer, and the Chiefs were forced into fouling to get possession of the ball. The move didn’t work as H. Apachito, Sandoval and Guerro made six straight shots to end it.
During their final timeout, Apachito encouraged his team to keep their stranglehold going on defense.
“I told everybody, you got a minute and a half left—I need you guys to dig deep and forget about everything that’s in your way right now,” Apachito said. “I told them we could do this. And they all shook their head, nodding their head yes in agreement.”
The win lifts Alamo’s overall season record to 10-3, with just one regular season game remaining before the start of district play. The Lady Cougars travel to Animas on Jan. 12 and will open District 3 1A play at home against Carrizozo on Jan. 17.
Hailey Apachito 10, Sapphira Sandoval 17, Alvina Apachito 8, Elliana Guerro 11, Claire Apachito 5, Koolanna Apachito 5.