After fouling out with two minutes left in her last game, Mesa Vista senior Amarissa Quintana shared a long and emotional hug with coach Jesse Boies.
“We did all we could,” Quintana said her conversation with Boies included. “It sucks losing, especially as a senior. But you have a winner and you have a loser, and unfortunately we were a loser.”
“I told her she had an amazing career,” Boies said. “She’s been playing varsity since eighth grade. So we’re going to miss her.”
The No. 7 seed Texico Wolverines upset No. 7 Mesa Vista in their state quarterfinal game, putting pressure in the second half and using their height to win the rebounding battle for a 48-38 win on Tuesday at the Rio Rancho Events Center.
“They came to play, they showed up,” Boies said of Texico. “Our girls did also, just shots didn’t fall.”
A seemingly magical season for the Lady Trojans, where they won 23 games and won a state tournament game for the second time in school history (the first was last year) comes to a conclusion much early than they wanted or expected. But after they were the top team for the entire season, the rest of the state seemed to catch up.
Mesa Vista started the year 20-2, but lost four of their last seven games as teams found a formula to win in a physical battle, and they never quite found the right adjustment.
Rebounding hurt the Trojans most in the game; after they had the early advantage with seven offensive rebounds in the first quarter, Texico outrebounded them 18-6 in the second quarter and nine to five in the third as they made a run from down by seven to a 12-point lead.
“That’s also part of how we kept getting up, because we would rebound and push the ball, and then slow it up if we had to`” said Texico senior Catelyn Breshears, who had a game-high 10 rebounds and scored 17 of her 21 points in the second half.
Bright lights under the basket in the Events Center’s temporary basketball setup may have played a role, making layups difficult.
“They were really bright,” Quintana said. “It’s a lot different from what we play. But either way, I have to get used to it. Didn’t really matter where we play anymore.”
Mesa Vista shot just 12-for-54 in the game, and just 9-for-34 (26 percent) on two-point attempts. While Texico seemed most affected by it early, shooting 1-for-8 in the first quarter, as the game went on the Trojans struggled more and more.
Tana Lopez had the hot hand early in the game, scoring the Trojans’ first seven points, but she went cold; after starting 3-for-4, she made just one of her final 11 shots, many contested layups. Free throws were her best work in the second half as she finished with a team-high 15 points.
“We knew that she could penetrate and shoot the ball as well,” Texico coach Jaylyn Cook said of Lopez. “We were preparing for her to be the best player.”
And Mesa Vista’s offense was often out of sync; the entire team had just three assists in the game, barely half of Bella Boies’ state-leading average.
The Trojans held the early lead, going up 11-4 after the first quarter. But a strong second quarter put Texico back within one at halftime. Then, the Wolverines came out hot in the second half, quickly scoring 13 straight points to take a big lead.
The Trojans played at a slower pace for most of the game, pulling the ball back on offense. Texico adjusted by jumping into passing lanes and coming out for steals while using their length, and they forced nine turnovers in the third quarter (though Mesa Vista had the advantage overall, forcing 25 in the game).
“I think they got into some of our girls’ heads,” Jesse Boies said. “The girls that usually are on cue and strong, a couple bangs here and there and a couple physical hits, and it got into their heads. We played a tough defensive team, and it was good for us, we just didn’t execute.”
“They have a lot longer arms than we do,” Quintana said.
Mesa Vista regained momentum with a 3-pointer by Quintana and a quick steal and two free throws. Then, Anna Peña drew a technical foul on a shove after the whistle, and the Trojans were right back in the game. A 10-0 run put them behind by two points.
But Texico answered with seven straight points to end the quarter, and were up by 11 early in the third.
Mesa Vista loses two seniors this year, but will look to rebound with what will be a senior-loaded team next year.
“Right now, we’re learning to be champs,” Boies said. “We had a magical season.”
“It hurts a lot,” Bella Boies said. “But I know we’ll be back next year.”
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.