Published: 2:39 pm, Wed. Jan. 10th, 2018Updated: 2:38 pm
The Lady Bulldog basketball team showed no signs of off-the-bus rust Tuesday in Chaparral, landing right in the middle of the Lady Lobos in the first quarter of play and keeping the pressure on though the conclusion of a 65-21 win.
“I thought we did a combination of things well last night,” head coach Jeff Houghtaling said today. “We did a really good job of focusing on the trip over. I thought we traveled better yesterday than we did last weekend.
“Then probably the biggest thing was that we hit our first three or four shots of the game, and they were all three-pointers. We really just kind of jumped on them, and we were up about 12-0 before they knew what hit them. A lot of times, those early makes really build confidence, and it just kind of snowballed on them – and us, too, in a good way.”
The girls in orange racked up 25 points in just the first quarter alone Tuesday as their guards rained from beyond the arc.
Alexa Riggs posted a pair of treys and Kyrah Gonzales and Elisa Cardenas one apiece in the first eight minutes, and with Gracie Puentes contributing seven in the paint, Artesia quickly took charge of the tempo.
Chaparral was firmly on their heels as the Lady ‘Dogs added in an effective full-court press, and the Lady Lobos would manage just three points in the first.
Puentes and Kinli Taylor continued to dominate the lane in the second quarter, combining for 15 of the Lady ‘Dogs’ 21 points in the period, and Artesia headed in at the half holding a 46-13 lead.
“We were able to get some stops and some quick buckets, and we pressed a little last night, which I thought helped us,” Houghtaling said. “As a result of that, the girls played really well.
“We’ve spent a lot of time shooting the ball, and it’s just nice when you have a night where you hit like we did. On nights when you don’t, it’s frustrating, so it was good to see it kind of all come together. We haven’t spent a ton of time pressing yet this season, but we’ve spent a lot of time working on it in practice, and I was glad to see it work the way it’s supposed to.”
Puentes added seven to her total in the third, and Cardenas tacked on two more treys in the fourth as the Lady ‘Dogs closed things out, limiting the Lobos to two and six points respectively in the final quarters.
Puentes led all scorers on the night with 23, followed by Cardenas with nine and Riggs and Taylor with eight.
With the win, Artesia improves to 7-7 on the season as they prepare for an away-and-home weekend.
The Lady ‘Dogs will travel to Santa Teresa Friday for a 5:30 p.m. game against the Lady Desert Warriors before returning to Bulldog Pit at 2:30 p.m. Saturday to host Albuquerque Academy.
“These are two more 5A opponents, and we’re going to have to be prepared,” Houghtaling said. “We played Santa Teresa once already this year and beat them, so I don’t want that to be a trap game. And then we have to be mentally prepared for another long road trip Friday.
“Academy is one of those teams like Los Alamos or Capital that I think is probably better than their record indicates. They’ve played a lot of good teams, and their strength is in their post play, so we’ll have to be prepared for that. I’m excited to get to play them at home; it’ll be good to get back in the Pit after a three-game road stretch.”
Houghtaling said the Lady Bulldogs will also be recognizing the Park Junior High and Zia Intermediate basketball athletes at halftime of their varsity game, and the public is encouraged to attend.