Serving the High Plains

Tucumcari girls repeat as tourney champions

The Tucumcari girls basketball captured the Bean Valley Conference Tournament title for a fifth straight year Saturday by defeating host team Estancia 62-25 in the championship game.

The Lady Rattlers (9-3) dominated the tournament, winning by an average margin of nearly 29 points per game while also vanquishing Santa Rosa 72-45 and Mountainair 58-36.

All five of Tucumcari's starters - Jasmine Jones, Alexus Lafferty, Ashley Shipley, Reece Goldston and Aaliyah Brown - earned all-tournament honors, with Jones being named Most Valuable Player.

During the title game against Estancia, Jones scored 21 points to lead the Lady Rattlers, while Brown added 15 and Shipley 13.

Jones and Shipley each scored 19 points against Mountainair. Against Santa Rosa, Shipley scored 27 points and Jones 19.

"We didn't look bad," Tucumcari coach Gary Hittson said in summarizing the weekend. "Our press started working, and we started running the floor a little bit. Maybe we're starting to click."

Mathematically, the first-round game against Mountainair appeared to be the toughest matchup against Tucumcari. However, that was deceiving.

"Against Mountainair, we just came out flat," Hittson said. "And they had one little girl who was hitting (baskets) on anything she threw up. She probably could have thrown it behind her back, and it would have went in.

"Santa Rosa probably was the toughest team we played in the tournament."