Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Lady Rattlers hit rough patch, lose two


January 25, 2023

Ron Warnick

Tucumcari's Cambree Benavidez eyes the basket during a fastbreak against Santa Rosa's Danae Esquibel during a non-district game Jan. 16 at the Snake Pit.

The Tucumcari girls basketball hit a rough patch last week, suffering non-district losses at state-ranked Clayton and at home to state-ranked Santa Rosa.

During the game Thursday at Clayton, the Lady Rattlers' shooting went cold in the second half and watched a 14-point lead ebb away during a 52-46 loss.

Tucumcari fell to 11-6 and have lost three straight.

Tucumcari coach Patrick Benavidez said his team played a great first half.

Then the second half started.

"We couldn't make a shot and didn't score for the first five minutes of the quarter," he said. "Clayton started making everything they put up with their senior center Morgan Crisp making three 3-pointers and a two for a game high of 19 in the third quarter.

"Overall, we played a solid three quarters. After the half, we stopped doing what worked for us in the first half due to our response to Clayton making shots and a quick run to close the lead. That is something I attribute to the youth in our team. We have have played really good basketball these last few weeks even though our record shows three more losses."

Caylee Benavidez led the Lady Rattlers with 12 points. Alexus Lafferty and Cambree Benavidez each added nine.

The Yellowjackets, ranked fourth in Class 2A, improved to 15-3.

Tucumcari hosts Melrose, ranked No. 1 in 1A, on Thursday for its annual Homecoming game, then begins its district schedule with another home game against Dexter on Friday.

Santa Rosa 52, Tucumcari 47

It took four tries, but Santa Rosa finally got the better of Tucumcari.

Key to the Lady Lions' 52-47 non-district victory on Jan. 17 was they handled the Lady Rattlers' full-court press far better than during the previous three contests, which Tucumcari won by an average of nearly 15 points.

"They put a solid game together finally," coach Benavidez said of Santa Rosa. "They were able to handle our press this time. After playing them four times, it's hard to come up with something new against them."

Santa Rosa junior Kasydi Chavez scored 10 of her game-high 23 points in the paint during the fourth quarter to lead the Lady Lions to the comeback win.

Santa Rosa, ranked second in Class 2A by MaxPreps.com, improved to 13-5.

Tucumcari led much of the game and took its biggest lead (36-28) late in the third quarter.

But the Lady Rattlers' shooting went cold, with just three field goals in the fourth quarter. The Lady Lions, conversely, went on a 13-2 run during part of the period to seal the victory.

"We just couldn't put the ball in the basket at the end and forced a few shots," coach Benavidez said. "We kinda fell apart a little bit, but it's bound to happen with any team. And we were still in there, had a shot to win it."

Tucumcari's Caylee Benavidez led her team with 12 points, while Alexus Lafferty added 11. Cambree Benavidez tallied 10 points.


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