It was a close fight for the Tucumcari High School girls at the Sandia Prep Invitation Tournament Thursday, one that they thought was, for the most part theirs since they led the contest until the final minute of the game against McCarty, but it was not to be as they lost by a single point 44-43.
“It was a very good game for us,” said head girls’ coach Alicia Trujillo about the contest. “We led all the way and then they came back in the final quarter and took it in the last minute and this was a team that beat Mesa Vista by 30 points.”
In fact, outside of a brief stint in the first period, the McCarty girls did not have the lead until under 10 seconds was left in the game.
“We were in control until that final period,” said Trujillo.
An indication of the control play by the Rattlers was that they did not have a single foul in the first half and had only three fouls in the second half of the game.
Tucumcari also only had six turnovers in the first half.
“That’s so much better than we used to have,” said the Tucumcari girls coach.
So dominating were the Tucumcari girls, led by the hot shooting of Jamie Jones who had 17 points for the game and Whitney Spinks who had 11 points that at the end of three periods of play, the Tucumcari Rattlers led their McCarty opponents by 6.
“We dominated until that fourth quarter,” said Trujillo.
It was then however that McCarty’s Niki Valdez got hot. The McCarty star who had been held to only five points up to that point hit for 15 more in the final quarter, both three and two-point shots to pull the game out for McCarty in the final seconds.
“In that final quarter we started turning the ball over too much,” said Trujillo. “We just can’t do that and expect to win.”
Despite the loss, Trujillo said the contest was a good one for her girls pointing to the fact that last year at this time the Tucumcari girls were being blown out by 15 or even 20 points but now that span has been shrunk to one and possibly two point.
“We just have to learn to win,’ said Trujillo. “That’s the last hump we have to get over.”
McC 6 9 15 14 – 44
Tuc 5 19 17 7 – 43
On Friday, the girls were not as successful against Pecos as they were against McCarty the evening before. as they fell to Pecos 56-23 on Friday.