Excitement builds as Peñasco Lady Panthers punch ticket to The Pit

Steep descent down famous ramp awaits Mascareñas and his northern prowlers after 15-point throttling of Lordsburg


Leaving no doubt that they belong among the best, the Peñasco Lady Panthers showcased their skills and soundly defeated the Lordsburg Lady Mavericks 60-45, during semifinal action in Bernalillo March 8.

In typical Peñasco fashion, the athletes from the northern mountain enclave outran the competition and wore down the much bigger team from the south – jumping out to a minor lead in the first period and growing it throughout the middle periods until it was out of reach for Lordsburg. A barrage of three pointers from the Peñasco guards and solid play from its inside contingent led to wave after wave of scoring surges that tilted the scales in Peñasco's favor. The Lady Panther's defense was outstanding as well – forcing 21 turnovers and challenging just about every shot the Lady Mavs attempted.

On the day, a rare “double-double” was garnered by Peñasco's Carly Gonzales, who scored 15 points and picked up 16 rebounds. She was joined by Adrianna Tafoya who added 13 points, and Alaska Lopez who led all scorers with 19. A major key to victory was the ability of the Lady Panthers to hit shots from the perimeter. Tafoya, Lopez, Alexandria Sandoval and Estrella “Star” Gonzalez made a combined seven 3-pointers to ratchet up the pressure on an already winded Lady Maverick squad.

Next up for Coach Gilbert Mascareñas, Dreamstyle Arena.

Mascareñas – who is in his second year as head coach – and his hungry crew are headed for the Class 2A championship game, which includes a fortuitous walk down a storied ramp and into the vaunted vestibule known as “The Pit.” Waiting at the bottom will be the number four seeded Fort Sumner/House Vixens, who made it to the finals by upsetting the number one ranked Logan Lady Longhorns, 40-38 in the other Class 2A semifinal game.

The championship game at Dreamstyle Arena will take place at 5:30 p.m. Fans are reminded that the cost to enter the arena is $10 for adults and $5 for students, seniors and members of the military. If available, reserved chairback seats can be purchased for $15 (for everyone). Also, the University of New Mexico will be charging $5 (cash only) for parking for all vehicles. Given the volume of people expected to attend the game, fans are encouraged to arrive early to secure seats inside the arena. For those unable to make it to the game, Luna 96.7 FM and luna967.com will be broadcasting the game live, with pre-game show starting at 5:15 p.m.

All that is left, is leaving not doubt the Peñasco Lady Panthers are the best. . . .