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Capital girls regain their confidence in basketball

The Capital girls have regained their confidence after the season opening rout and surged into the finals of the annual Al Armendariz basketball tournament played at Capital High  

Jaguars now take on Roswell Goddard after getting past Albuquerque High, while Santa Fe HS lost in overtime

Arnie Leshin

By ARNIE LESHIN, Santa Fe Today    

It was a capital gain for host Capital High. While the boys continued to dominate the round robin, the girls made their way into tonight’s championship of the annual Al Armendarez basketball tournament.

The girls advanced their record to 4-2 by turning back Albuquerque High, 52-45, and will face defending state 5A champion Roswell Goddard. The Rockets (3-2) soared over Aztec, 46-26.

The two other games lined up the consolation bracket as Espanola Valley edged Santa Fe High, 34-32, in overtime, and Pecos earned a 66-32 victory over Mesa Vista.

But kudos to Capital. Although it did make it to last year’s final versus Espanola, it had to settle for second place. Otherwise, it’s neat to gain the title game two-straight times in the tournament named for the former Capital boy’s basketball coach.

But expect for an opening pounding (52-30) at home against Pojoaque Valley, the Jaguars have played well and this is a big plus for new head coach Darren Casados’ quest to improve the program.

Now they appear to have a renewed focus and a lesson learned. And this time they had to stay composed when the Bulldogs cut into a 42-35 gap in the fourth quarter and tied it at 42-all with 3:44 remaining.

First it was senior Ishara Sorensen of Capital chasing down a loose ball in the corner of the corner and whipping it to junior Kyannah Cole, who then sent it inside to teammate Miranda Cortez for a well-executed bucket and a 44-42 lead with 2:05 to go.

Next, Cole turned a Bulldog turnover into a basket, Cortez converted one of two from the foul line and followed with 3-pointer from the wing for a 49-45 advance with 58 seconds left. Sorensen put the finishing touches on by tossing in pair of free throws with 15 seconds showing on the scoreboard clock.

Santa Fe High was outscored, 3-1, in the overtime for its third setback in a row under new head coach Cindy Roybal, who coached the Espanola girls last season.

Kaylee Chavez had the only bucket in the overtime for the Sundevils and seven of her game-high 14 points in the final quarter. Taylor Salazar led the Demonettes with 13 points.

Pecos was led by sophomore Cassie Mueller’s game-high 22 points and held a commanding 35-15 lead at halftime. Reyna Perez added 16 points, with 14 coming in the second half.

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