Gerleanzy Ganadonegro goes up for two of her game-high 24 points.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain

MAGDALENA—Paced by Gerleanzy Ganadonegro’s 18 first-half points, Magdalena’s girls got off to the fast start coach Sara Sue Onley has been looking for as the Steers topped Tularosa 54-44 on Dec. 13.

The Steers (5-2) were hot early, and Ganadonegro’s 10 first-quarter points would equal the lead Magdalena would nurse the entire game.

Jorianne Mirabal and Kambree Montoya (four points each), and Jema Ganadonegro helped add to the Steers’ 19 points over the first stanza to give Magdalena a 19-9 edge.

Ganadonegro’s s first six points came from behind the arc, and then it was Magdalena’s defense-producing turnovers that she turned into buckets in a succession of quick breaks and layups. Ganadonegro’s eight points led the Steers’ 14-13 run to give Magdalena a 33-22 lead at the half, but the Steers’ main problem was some unforced turnovers.

“Our mental focus was a little frustrating at times, but we started hard and played hard,” Olney said.

Like many coaches at this time of the year, Olney is looking to get her team on the same page and avoid passes to players who aren’t looking or are unaware of where the basketball is located.

The Steers wanted to keep their fast break going, and at times it hurt when Tularosa could gang up on a player and take away the ball. Olney has no problems with mistakes while hustling but wants her players focused and avoiding miscues.

“We have to do it (stay focused) consistently throughout the whole game,” Olney said.

Jema Ganadonegro and Mirabal scored seven points in the second half as Magdalena slowed down offensively but still held Tularosa to a double-digit deficit at 42-30.

Olney was pleased to see her team could break through Tularosa’s defensive scheme and produce points from different areas of the court.

“We had two girls in double figures and two more right there,” Olney said. “Overall, there were a lot of positives, and I would give it a B plus,”

Gerleanzy Ganadonegro 24, Jorianne Mirabal 12, Jema Ganadonegro 9, Kambree Montoya 9.