By JASON EPP
Leader & Times
The Southwestern Heights Lady Mustangs saw their season come to an abrupt and surprising end last night, losing at home in the first round of sub-state to Chaparral, 54-37.
"We started the game pretty well, and played solid defense through most of the game," Lady Mustangs coach Barry Mellen said. "I think we got tired at the end, and it cost us."
Chaparral took an early 11-8 lead in the first quarter, but Heights took the lead with 4:34 left before half, 17-15. Heights was hot from the perimeter, scoring all 12 of their second quarter points from beyond the arc. Tiana Couch hit three of those four, scoring 9 of her 10 points in the quarter.
Chaparral pulled ahead just before half to lead at the break, 22-20.
Heights again regained the lead in the third but with the outside shots not falling had to begin to drive inside. And while Height s faced a tightly called game on the perimeter, they did not see the same in the paint, which hurt the smaller, but quicker Lady Mustangs.
Heights finished just 1 of 9 in the paint. Chaparral made twice as many free throws 24 as Heights attempted (12). Chaparral outrebounded the Lady Mustangs 26-15.
Chaparral led 36-28 at the end of the third, and pulled away in the fourth. Chaparral led 45-30 with 4:09 left in the fourth, and went on to win by 17.
Jackie Loya was the top scorer for the Lady Mustangs with 12 points. Loya was 3 of 6 from 2-point range and 2 of 3 from 3-point range. Ivon Amparon scored 10, grabbed 5 rebounds, and had four steals. Tiana Couch was 3 of 8 from beyond the arc for 10 points and had four steals. Nayelly LaPoint was held to just four points, all at the free throw line.
The loss dropped Heights final record to 11-10.
"Number one, this team did everything I asked," Mellen said. "They made the commitment to be there at every practice, and to give everything they had. I think I'm most proud of how much we improved from day one until the end. Our seniors were great leaders, and made our team better than people thought we would be."