RIO RANCHO — It became blatantly obvious tonight that Amaya Brown isn’t yet ready to see the sun set on her career. And even more so, Brown is fiercely focused on getting the Cibola Cougars back to the Pit.
"I’m very determined," Brown, who will play at NCAA Division I Florida State University, said. "I think this team can do it. We have the capability to do it."
Brown put up 13 of her 21 points in the fourth quarter alone, guiding the top-seeded Cougars to a 43-31 6A quarterfinals win over district foe and eighth-seeded Piedra Vista at the Santa Ana Star Center.
"That’s what great players do. And obviously, she’s the best player in the state for a reason. We couldn’t stop her in transition," Panthers coach Joe Reed said. "Our girls fought to the end. We just didn't shoot very well."
Piedra Vista shot 10-of-33 from the field in the loss. It was also the Panthers' third loss this season against Cibola.
Piedra Vista led 16-15 at halftime, and the lead might have been bigger, but the Panthers turned the ball over 13 times in the first two quarters.
Cibola then found its rhythm after halftime.
With Piedra Vista up 19-16 midway through the third quarter, Cibola scored seven straight to take the lead.
Adamari Waddell had a three-point play to tie the game. Kayla Martinez, who was outstanding in several departments Tuesday, hit an 8-foot jumper for Cibola’s first lead, 21-19, with 2:14 left in the third quarter.
And Brown closed the run with a lengthy drive and left-handed finish at the basket. She then scored Cibola's first seven fourth-quarter points.
"I really wanted to have the ball in my hands," Brown said. "And we really needed to drive to the basket."
Hallie Blackie led Piedra Vista (23-7) with nine points. Dani Russo, the Panthers’ leading scorer, was held to two points and also committed six turnovers.
Cibola (25-2) meets No. 5 Las Cruces in Thursday's 6A semifinals.
The Panthers will change districts starting next season, joining Farmington, West Mesa, Eldorado and La Cueva.