After going undefeated in their regular-season district matchups, the Estancia High School girls basketball team came up short in its District 6-2A championship game March 1 against the visiting Magdalena Lady Steers.
“Sometimes this stuff does happen,” Lady Bears head coach Mike Trujillo said after the 51-37 loss to Magdalena—a team Estancia had beaten twice this season. “But we’re still district champs and we’ll get a decent seed [in the state tournament].”
Two days later, the Lady Bears (21-5, 10-0), who finished with their first winning season since 2013, secured the No. 5 seed in the upcoming Class 2A state tournament.
It is the Lady Bears’ first playoff berth in six years.
With the high seed, Estancia will host the No. 12 Rehoboth Lynx (17-11) March 8 at 6 p.m.
“Hopefully we’ve got four games left,” Trujillo said.
In the semifinal loss to the Lady Steers, Mariah Aday got the Lady Bears on the board in the game’s first 30 seconds with a 3-point basket. Kaitlyn Calhoon followed with a layup for an early 5-0 Estancia lead.
Lainey Fastnacht’s long 2-point basket with 10 seconds left in the first quarter gave the home team a 16-11 advantage at the end of the frame.
Fastnacht hit a jump shot at the start of the second quarter to put the Lady Bears up 18-11.
Fastnacht led Estancia with 13 points, Calhoon added 6 points, and Uriah Astorga chipped in 5.
But the Lady Bears didn’t hit another field goal the the rest of the first half.
Meanwhile, the Lady Steers found their footing from beyond the 3-point arc and mounted a 12-0 run to take a 23-18 lead at halftime.
Magdalena’s scoring surge extended to a 17-1 run by the middle of the third quarter.
Calhoon hit a jump shot with 3:20 left in the stanza to end Estancia’s 11-minute field goal drought.
Priscilla Padilla came in off the bench and hit a 3 to pull the Lady Bears within 4 points.
But the Lady Steers continued sinking 3-point shots to push ahead 39-29 by the end of the third and were up by 12 early in the fourth.
“They got hot and we got cold,” Trujillo said. “I thought we played great defense, they just got so hot and they hit all those threes, what can you do? It wasn’t like we were loafing.”
After the game, Aday, Astorga, Lainey and Jaimey Fastnacht were all awarded All-District honors. Trujillo was awarded district coach of the year.
Trujillo attributed the team’s success to the dedication of the players. “They’ve worked so hard,” Trujillo said. “I’ve been coaching 32 years and this group of kids has brought the most enjoyment to me.”