The Dulce High School Lady Hawks were out in full force on the basketball court this past weekend at the New Mexico High School Coaches Association’s All-Star series.
Dulce head coach Stanford Salazar was selected to lead the Small-School Northwest girls on May 31 and June 1 at Albuquerque’s Manzano and Valley High Schools, and he had three of his own join him — who all helped field the team’s starting five.
Seniors Brooke Vigil, Lauryn Vigil and Jaelynn Reval all represented Dulce, tying Pecos High School for the most players from a single school on the four girls teams a part of the series. It gave Salazar one final hurrah on the sidelines, as he said he will not come back to coach the Lady Hawks again next season.
“That’s never happened (for us),” Salazar said about having three players selected to the team. “To come down here and do that was great because I won’t be coming back next year.”
Salazar couldn’t have asked for anything more in his finale, as the Northwest’s opening game on May 31 at Manzano against the Small-School Southwest just happened to be the most exciting of the four games played that day. Trailing 35-26 at halftime and still down for a majority of the second half, the Northwest was able to battle all the way back down the stretch, but they ultimately fell short, losing 73-71.
“Not bad for two-and-a-half hours of practice Salazar said laughing. “Especially coming together from a lot of the teams in our district. When we first got in there, a lot of the girls (were hesitant) and you could feel that.”
Normally rivals and sitting on opposing benches, it was Rehoboth Christian High School’s Jasmine Pablo and Kennedi Chapman and Newcomb High School’s Shoshuna Jones and Shaina Brown that came together with the Dulce trio. Navajo Prep’s Kariah Wilson was also familiar with the Lady Hawk players after growing up with them in Dulce.
“It was a great opportunity and we were all very grateful for it,” Brooke Vigil said. “Coming together from the same district, a lot of our plays that we run, they were familiar with, so they picked it up pretty fast.”
Brooke Vigil and Laguna Acoma’s Jasmine Kie did the heavy lifting and had to pick things up for the Northwest, as the duo accounted for 29 points between them. Brooke Vigil had 14, and 10 of those came in the second half when she began to heat up from the field. However, she would foul out with six minutes remaining. It was her surge from the 3-point line that helped sway the momentum in her team’s favor. She hit back-to-back triples with 17:41 remaining in the game to pull the Northwest within 39-34 to start the comeback trail.
“When I went to the bench, my team picked up where I left off,” Brooke Vigil said. “I knew they had it and we came so close.”
The Northwest grabbed their first lead of the second half with 1:41 remaining after Tohatchi High School’s Genae Morris capitalized on a scoop layup after Kie stole an inbounds pass and drilled a fade away 3-pointer deep in the right corner on the possession prior.
Morris would add another free throw to make the score 71-69 with 42 seconds remaining. Then, after a Southwest turnover, Lauryn Vigil had the potential victory in her hands from just a foot away from the basket, but the Dulce player was unable to capitalize on the gimme.
In the end, the Southwest’s Ember Cervantes from Tularosa High School would add the last two points from the free throw line after getting fouled at the rim with just 1.5 seconds remaining on the clock.
“We got the stops we needed to defensively to come back,” Salazar said. “Brooke, Kariah and Jasmine hit some big shots and we gave it our all to get back in it.”
Kie led the Northwest with 15 points and the other Dulce players in Lauryn Vigil and Jaelynn Reval had nine and six points. Animas High School's Tierney Washburn paced the Southwest with 18 and Angela Lackey from Quemado High School had 16.
The Northwest played in the consolation championship at Valley on June 1, and they rebounded with a 79-71 win over the Small-School Northeast.
Pojoaque and Española unite
Another pure example of rivals coming together was the case in the Large-School Northeast’s game against the Southeast. Española Valley High School’s scoring duo of Kaylinn Martinez and Kaylee Chavez teamed up with Pojoaque Valley High School’s Taylor Roybal, and like the players from Dulce, their opening game also ended in defeat as the Southeast won a 77-69 battle at Manzano later in the evening.
Martinez and Chavez each scored five points apiece, with their biggest moments coming amid a 10-0 scoring run that helped the Northeast take a 40-39 lead with 16:21 left in the second half after falling behind 35-27 at halftime.
The run began after Chavez nailed a 3-pointer from the left wing, and fittingly ended after Martinez knocked down another triple from the opposite wing. Roybal was often not on the court at the same time as Martinez and Chavez, and she ended with four points.
A day later, also at Manzano, the Northeast lost again, this time, 73-64 to the Southwest.
Fired coach leads two players
Gilbert Mascareñas had been fired from his position as girls head coach at Peñasco High School in early May, but he was still selected to coach the Small-School Northeast, which yielded him the opportunity for one more chance to coach Lady Panthers Alaska Lopez and Bianca Contreras.
Unfortunately for the Northeast, their chances at advancing to the championship game were quickly diminished. The Small-School Southeast cruised to an 87-65 victory May 31 at Manzano, largely in thanks to a 14-0 run to open the game. Lopez was held scoreless from the field and Contreras had three points while Angie Lopez from Des Moines High School led the team with 12.
State champion Celeste Jimenez from Tatum High School lit up the scoreboard for the Southeast, scoring 24 points, with 20 of those coming in the first half of play. Baylee Sours from Texico High School was right behind Jimenez with 23 points and Mariah Aday (Estancia High School) and Jasmine Davalos (Texico) had seven apiece.
As mentioned, the Northwest lost on day two to the Dulce led Northwest, 79-71.