After squandering a lead they had held for much of the game, Estancia’s girls basketball team pulled a switcheroo with its defensive strategy in the final frame of last Saturday’s matchup against the visiting East Mountain Lady Timberwolves.
The move paid off and the Lady Bears won the contest, 44-36.
“I’m not sure why but we took our foot off the pedal and our defense wasn’t as crisp as it had been,” Estancia head coach Travis Watts said. “So we went to a full-court defense for the rest of the game and it worked.”
With the victory, Estancia (6-14, 0-3 Dist. 6-3A) snapped its 10-game losing streak.
The short-handed Lady T’Wolves dropped their sixth straight.
East Mountain (6-14, 0-3 Dist. 5-4A) was missing a couple of starters and had a few more who were not feeling well during the game.
“Right now, we only have four girls who are healthy and they just ran out of gas,” East Mountain head coach Hobert “H” Warren said.
Estancia jumped out to an early first-quarter lead. But an 8-0 East Mountain run put the T’Wolves on top. Ryann Warren led East Mountain with 9 points.
Moments later, Mariah Aday hit a 3-point shot followed by a layup to give the Bears a lead they didn’t relinquish until the final quarter. She scored a game-high 12 points.
East Mountain’s Aubri Wrye made a layup early in the fourth to cap a 6-0 spurt that gave the Lady T’Wolves their first lead since the first stanza.
After the Lady Bears regained the lead, Espie Sanchez sank a layup to put East Mountain back on top by a point with 4 minutes left.
That’s when Estancia went to its full-court, man-to-man press and East Mountain didn’t score again.
Callie “Co-Co” Larson hit two free throws followed by a quick layup to ignite a 9-0 run to seal it for the Lady Bears.
“We made our free throws at the end, which is also something we didn’t do in the first half,” Watts said.
East Mountain played Santa Fe Indian School Tuesday after The Independent went to print. Estancia plays at Bosque School tonight, Wednesday.
Ger has been writing and shooting photos of high school sports for The Independent for 15 years. His dedication to youth athletics goes beyond sports reporting. He is past president of East Mountain Little League and works as a baseball umpire. He lives in Edgewood with his family.