Magdalena’s Kambree Montoya (center) battles for control of the basketball as Irene Martinez and Gerleanzy look on.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain

MAGDALENA—The Magdalena girls’ basketball team’s first overtime game turned into a double as the Steers took Class 2A Capitan to the brink before slipping on Jan. 12, 54-50.

It was a game that could have gone either way, but the Steers’ lack of experience in playing extended minutes was a telling factor. Still, one that Magdalena coach Sara Sue Olney was happy to have because it gave her young team the experience it will need heading into district action.

The Steers battled to a 43-43 tie at the end of regulation, and it was a bit of basketball mastery to knot the game up after Magdalena trailed 39-32 in the waning minutes.

Gerleanzy Ganadonegro got things rolling with a steal and layup. Irene Martinez duplicated the quick bucket, and Ganadonegro hit a turn-around jumper to make it 39-38.

Down 41-40, Ganadonegro went to the free-throw line after being fouled on a three-point attempt, and she sank all three shots for a 43-41 lead.

Capitan would tie the game with a quick bucket, and with 90 seconds remaining, the Steers had the basketball and the opportunity to win the game with a last-second shot, but Magdalena never got off an attempt.

“I think we were probably a little bit excited because we’ve never played in an overtime game. This is a double overtime game,” Olney said. “I think the excitement of everything, and you get worn down at that point, and the mental focus is probably not the best it could be. That’s what probably killed us, in the end, is our lack of mental focus at certain times.”

It was a scrappy game from the start as sophomore Jorianne Mirabal lit up the scoreboard in the first quarter with eight of the Steers’ 10 points in the frame.

Magdalena’s 10-8 first-quarter lead slowly evaporated as Capitan gave itself several second and third opportunities by grabbing rebounds and sinking shots.

After leading 21-18 at halftime, the Steers hung within striking distance and trailed 36-30 heading into the final minutes, where Magdalena turned it in with a 14-8 run to tie the game.

“Our rebounding tonight was not the best, so they got lots of opportunities and second-chance points. They threw up some great shots that, holy cow, went in. It ends the way it does but for us to battle and continue and push it to double overtime, I think, is really good for my girls,” Olney said.

Jema Ganadonegro, Martinez, Kambree Montoya, Mirabal and Gerleanzy Ganadonegro fueled the 14 points Magdalena needed to get into overtime. While her team faltered in the end, Olney was happy her team got the experience.

“It’s good to be in that position (playing a tight game). Because we could face this kind of situation later on down the road,” Olney said, “At least now we know what to expect, and we know how to finish off a game at that point.”

Montoya was an unsung hero as she spread out her scoring across four quarters for 15 points. Significantly, she significantly stopped Capitan from getting second chances in the second half with her rebounding.

“Kambree does great. She’s usually very solid for us. Not always with points, but she just plays hard and gets rebounds. She’s physical. She plays good solid defense. She was big-time for us and got lots of good rebounds. She hit some shots in the first half and great rebounds in the second. It hurt us when she got that cramp at the end of the game,” Olney said.

The Steers are heading into District 2 A play this week as Magdalena travels to Reserve on Jan. 19 and return home to face Mesilla Valley Christian School on Jan. 21.


Jema Ganadonegro 15, Irene Martinez 4, Kambree Montoya 10, Jorianne Mirabal 15, Gerleanzy Ganadonegro 6.