Magdalena’s Jema Ganadonegro dives for the basketball in front Socorro’s Faith Lucero (4) and Kaedyn Gonzalez (5).
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain

Magdalena used a 15-6 third-quarter run to pull away from a stubborn Socorro squad for a 48-33 win over the Lady Warriors on Jan 5.

Socorro was without the services of head coach Brad Bailey who was out due to illness, but assistant Brittany McDaniel (check spelling) had the Lady Warriors prepared for battle.

Both teams came out slightly excited and committed turnovers in the first quarter. Magdalena took an 11-8 advantage as Jem Ganadonegro, Elia Cleveland, Jorianne Mirabal and Gerleanzy Ganadonegro got the action- rolling.

Mirabal blistered the net in the second quarter as she scored 10 of Magdalena’s 14 points. Still, Socorro’s Jaylin Gonzalez and Faith Lucero managed to keep it close, scoring all of the Lady Warriors’ 12 points in the frame.

True to their season form, Magdalena emerged from the halftime locker room and went on a tear.

Irene Martinez led the way, scoring seven of her team’s 15 points in the stanza, and both squads ended up battered and bruised.

There were multiple fouls caused by hustling and scrambling after loose balls, and Lucero seemed to be around all of it. Her game-high 17 points featured 12-of-17 shooting at the free-throw line.

Magdalena coach Sara Sue Olney isn’t complaining about how her team came out and played after the first half, but she still has some worries about her team’s soft starts.

“We still need to learn how to come out stronger because it’s going to eventually come back to bite us in the butt,” Olney said. “But I think sometimes we just start off slow because we’re not sure what to expect out of ourselves.”

To be fair, it was a rivalry game, and both teams’ early turnovers seemed to be fueled by a bit of nervousness.

“It’s a blast. The girls get a little bit uptight and nervous about it, but rivalries are the best part. I think it’s what makes sports sports. You know, they don’t want to lose on their home court,” Olney said. “We think we are the big dogs. That’s how we think of ourselves. I’m sure they think of themselves the same way. So, when you get people on the court to see who’s the big dog of the county, that’s when it’s fun — it’s a fun show. Today, we are the big dog, but what a great game.”

Mirabal’s 14 points were tops for Magdalena’s scoring and follows a 20-point performance the sophomore had in a 45-42 win on the road against Fort Sumner/House.

“Jorianne was the difference-maker in that game,” Olney said. “She’s slowly starting to realize that she can play, and she’s a scorer, and she’s aggressive, and she can handle it. And I think the more and more that confidence comes to, more and more you’re going to see some pretty fun things out of her.”

Much like the left-handed layup Gerleanzy Ganadonegro had when double-covered under the basket that brought the crowd to its feet.