Last Updated: Dec 8th, 2017 - 14:39:18

Junior Ladycats split at San Jacinto in Amarillo
By Tyler Anderson, Sports Editor
Dec 8, 2017, 14:21

On one hand, the Sunray Middle School seventh grade girls’ basketball team is a force to be reckoned with. On the other hand, the Sunray Middle School eighth grade girls’ basketball team is still working toward finding their identity.

The Junior Ladycats jumped on the bus and headed south last Monday, as they faced off against San Jacinto Christian Academy in Amarillo.

While the seventh graders powered their way toward a dominating 47-15 victory, the eighth graders encountered a dry spell in the second half before coming up short in a 38-8 decision against the Lady Patriots.

Sunray’s junior high teams were back in action this past Saturday, hosting the Sunray Junior High Tournament at the Sunray High School Gymnasium.

Results from the Junior Ladycats’ latest games will be reported in an upcoming edition of the Moore County News-Press.

7th Sunray Ladycats 47, San Jacinto 15: The Sunray Middle School seventh grade girls’ basketball team had no trouble in their latest outing, using a huge first half to defeat the Lady Patriots at the San Jacinto Christian Academy Gym.

The Junior Ladycats jumped out to a 13-0 lead at the end of the opening period, before building up a commanding 29-1 advantage by halftime. While Sunray yielded a few points in the second half, the Junior Ladycats continued to stomp on the proverbial gas pedal, outscoring the Lady Patriots 18-14 in the final stretch.

Mackenzi Stokes had a strong performance against the Lady Patriots, racking up 19 points. Mariela Lechuga was stellar, as well, also going into double digits with 14 points. Leah Vargas and Daisy Anderson each contributed to the winning cause, finished the game with four points.

Pricila Rodriguez, Iliana Castillo, Emma Rangel, Jordan Laurent, Arianna Gallegos, Paige Smith, Giselle Borunda, Mayra Sanchez, Ady Perez, Marin Hatfield and Allona Makhanu all had significant playing time for the Junior Ladycats.

Overall, SMS head girls’ basketball coach Kurt Haberthur was happy with his team’s strong showing.

“One thing I was pleased with was defense,” Haberthur said. “We put an emphasis on help-side defense in practice, and they took it into the game. Another was offense. We were able to get into a half court offensive set a few times, and we executed pretty well.

San Jacinto 38, 8th Ladycats 8: Against the Lady Patriots, the eighth graders put forth a solid first half before falling to San Jacinto last Monday at the San Jacinto Christian Academy Gym in Amarillo.

Following a closely contested first quarter that saw San Jacinto come out with a slim 4-2 lead, the Junior Ladycats were able to keep their deficit small, as both squads went into the break with a 4-2 Lady Patriot lead.

However, the second half didn’t go the way that Sunray had intended, as the Lady Patriots rattled off 24 points while continuing to keep the Junior Ladycats scoreless. Despite the 24-point burst against them, the eighth graders worked up four points in the final stretch.

Kyah Morton, McKenna Zerby, Julissa Rivera and Marisol Zuniga were all vital to the Junior Ladycats’ effort. All four Sunray players finished the game with two points each.

Andrea Villanueva, Harley Hollaway, Diana Gallegos and Lupita Salinas also played plenty of minutes for Sunray.

“Our girls played very hard,” coach Haberthur said. “All of them hustled the entire game. We had several shot attempts, just didn't get many to fall. We rebounded pretty well. San Jacinto just had one girl that was very difficult to stop.”