Magdalena freshman Elia Cleveland works the ball to the inside against Hot Springs.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain

Generally, scoring four first-quarter points would be considered a slow start, but that’s double the amount of Hot Springs points against Magdalena’s girls basketball team, and the Steers ended up with a snowball 58-36 win.

Traveling to Hot Springs is a “homecoming” for Magdalena had coach Sara Sue Olney because it’s where she graduated high school. She’s on the Wall of Fame (yes, ladies, your coach was a baller) with notations of her stints at Western New Mexico University and Utah.

“Nobody remembers me anymore,” Olney said.

If fans didn’t recall Olney for her escapades back in ‘97, they will for her guiding Magdalena’s smothering defense that allowed just 16 points over the first three quarters of play.

True to their season-starting trend, the Steers came out and took away any hopes of a second-half rally with a 23-8 advantage in the third period.

The continued slow offensive starts by her squad don’t worry Olney.

“That’s their young-mindedness. We’re trying to get them to realize they need to have confidence in themselves because they’re good and can do it,” Olney said. “And so that’s going to take some time.”

It’s a different story on defense, where the Steers can disrupt and shut down an opponent.

“I think that’s going to be one of the things that we’re going to do (play defense) really well for the remainder of the year. We’re still learning how to score the points, and we have to learn how to finish (plays) to do that,” Olney said.

Even with some shortcomings, Olney wants the Steers to continue their progress.

“The way we played tonight is how we want to continue playing. We want to push the ball. We want to get up and go because girls basketball — it’s real slow and methodical, and we just don’t want to be that because it helps us to our advantage and our ‘meanness’ out there.”

How does Olney see her team improving their first-half performances?

“We need to keep shooting and just trust that it’ll go in. Eventually, the shots will start to fall,” Olney said. “We also talk about goals — that we have to be in the game, and we always like to try and double our points after halftime. So, that’s a huge thing for them — just keep attacking.”

Seven Steers got into the scorebooks, with Jema Ganadonegro topping all scorers with 14 points, while Jorianne Mirabal and Gerleanzy Ganadonegro had 10 points each. Adding to Magdalena’s scoring were Kambree Montoya 9, Elia Cleveland 8, Kaydene Audrey-Latasa 5, Irene Martinez 2.