Late burst not enough against Pirates

Sierra Grande senior Destinee Deleon (1) looks to drive against Cotopaxi’s Jamie Sanchez (5) during Friday’s game. (VC/Jiron)

BLANCA — The Panthers girls basketball team played host to district foe Cotopaxi on Friday night. The visiting Pirates took the win by a score of 65-41.

Entering Friday’s meeting with the Pirates, Sierra Grande (5-9, SPL 3-2) saw a two-game streak expire with a trip to Sanford. Cotopaxi (12-3, 6-1 SPL) is looking pretty strong this year and their only league loss has come at the hands of the fifth-ranked Sangre de Cristo Thunderbirds (10-2, 5-0 SPL).

Following the tipoff, Sierra Grande was not daunted by their opponent’s record. The Panther’s Rebecca Casados would get the scoring started and what followed was the two teams matching each other point for point up to an 8-8 tie midway through the first.

A four-point run gave Cotopaxi their first lead of the game. They’d quickly follow up with another rally and go ahead 16-10. Late baskets from Sierra Grande’s Mariana Loya and Annadene Esquer-Montoya got the Panthers on the board but the Pirates would close the first quarter with a 20-14 lead.

Sierra Grande lost their grip on the game in the second frame allowing 12 unanswered points to start the quarter.  The host Panthers would go to the break trailing 40-19.

The third quarter wasn’t exactly a fresh start for Sierra Grande. Cotopaxi started the third chapter with a 16-2 run. The Panthers would show some signs of life late in the third. Freshman Mia Esquer-Montoya sparked an 8-2 run to close the quarter contributing 6 points of her own. A little preview of the fourth quarter.

The final chapter was the only quarter where Sierra Grande would outscore their opponents led by Mia Esquer-Montoya’s four points. The Sierra Grande freshman led the Panthers in scoring with 10 points on Friday night.

Sierra Grande will go right back to work on Saturday looking to get back in the win column against Sargent (7-6, 3-0 SPL). The Panthers are slated for a visit Sargent on Saturday with a start time of 1 p.m.

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