Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Tucumcari girls overwhelm East Mountain


December 25, 2019

Ron Warnick

Tucumcari's Chantal Gardea reaches out to grab a loose ball during a home game Dec. 17 against East Mountain.

Despite an injury to one of its key players, Tucumcari girls basketball team overwhelmed East Mountain 60-24 on Dec. 17 in the Lady Rattlers' home opener at the Snake Pit.

The injury to senior center Jasmine Jones' knee impacted Tucumcari's play during the Citizens Bank Tournament at Texico, where the Lady Rattlers (6-3) lost two of three in her absence. When Jones returns to the lineup remains uncertain.

Against East Mountain, Tucumcari received most of its offense from senior point guard Ashley Shipley, who scored a career-high 37 points with four 3-point shots and going 13-for-13 from the free-throw line after being repeatedly fouled while slashing her way inside to the basket.

Tucumcari coach Gary Hittson said Shipley amassing points in a wide array is a fairly typical game for her.

"That's her game," he said. "We just have to get the other people to step up."

Jones suffered the knee injury in the first quarter and sat the rest of the game with a bag of ice on her leg. Chantal Gardea played in her place most of the contest.

"I was pleased with the way Chantal came in and played," Hittson said. "And the girls didn't foul when (Jasmine) went out, either. They defense stayed up."

However, Hittson remained troubled with other aspects of his team's performance against an offensively anemic East Mountain club (1-5).

"We've got to keep from turning the ball over," he said. "Unforced errors are killing us. We also had people getting down on themselves. We just have to play.

"Like I told the girls: 'You can play down to that level (of East Mountain). You've got to keep your level here," Hittson said, holding his hand at head level, "because if you drop down to their level, you'll make a game out of it.'"

Tucumcari quickly didn't make a game of it. The Lady Rattlers stormed to a 9-0 lead and took a double-digit lead by the end of the period. Tucumcari led by 20 midway through the second quarter and swelled the advantage to 30 by the fourth.

Karleigh Gutierrez scored 14 points to lead the Timberwolves, who went a woeful 2-for-11 from the free-throw line.

Texico 53, Tucumcari 48

Shipley scored 24 points, but it wasn't enough during a 53-48 loss Saturday to host team Texico in the Citizens Bank Tournament.

Reece Goldston added 10 points for the Lady Rattlers.

"We did not play bad," Hittson said. "We just missed some shots near the end of the game. We missed the back ends of four one-and-one (free throw) shots."

Texico finished the tournament 3-5.

Tucumcari has two weeks off before its next game Jan. 4 at home against Logan. Hittson said his first priority is to let his team recover from nagging injuries. In addition to Jones' knee injury, Aaliyah Brown has been hobbled with shin splints, and Goldston and Juli Rivera hurting with ankle injuries.

"We're just kind of beat up right now," he said. "We're going to take some time off and try to get healthy."

Farwell 55, Tucumcari 39

Too many turnovers and not enough action on the boards doomed Tucumcari during a 55-39 loss Friday to Farwell, Texas, during the Citizens Bank Tournament.

"We just couldn't rebound," Hittson said. "They had two 5-foot-10 girls, and we just didn't have an inside presence."

He said he rotated Gardea, Shipley and Goldston to the center position but never overcame the Steers' height advantage.

Hittson said he didn't have a total number of his team's turnovers, but the Lady Rattlers committed 19 in the first half alone.

"There were times we could have closed it to single digits," he said, "and we'd miss a layup or miss a free throw, and they'd go down and hit a three or make a layup."

Shipley and Goldston each scored 11 points to lead Tucumcari. Brown added eight.

Farwell improved to 10-6.


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