Lady Bobcats come up just short in 5A finals

Cold shooting in final minutes keeps Bloomfield from title

Matt Hollinshead,

ALBUQUERQUE — The Bloomfield girls basketball team slugged it out with Los Lunas for most of tonight's 5A state championship game at Dreamstyle Arena, but an inability to connect on crucial shots down the stretch doomed the Lady Bobcats' hopes of a title.

Bloomfield's quest for the blue trophy came up just short, as the Lady Bobcats fell 48-43.

"We did everything we could. It's just, our shots weren't dropping," senior forward Alyssa Quintana said, fighting back tears.

Tenacious defense on the perimeter gave Bloomfield its first spark of hope that the Bobcats could contain the Tiger shooters. Bloomfield defenders swarmed the Los Lunas up top, quickly collapsing on the spot where the ball landed.

"We just were talking about how we needed to trap them a lot; don't give them the extra shot, don't give them the extra chance to shoot it," senior forward Mattie Waresback said. 

Bloomfield's Sierra Ortiz drives to the basket and is fouled by Los Lunas defender Hayley Torres during Friday's 5A state championship game in Albuquerque.

That enabled Bloomfield to do what it does best: attack the basket off quick transition opportunities.

The Lady Bobcats kept on attacking, burying shots inside and out.

But after moments of red-hot shooting, the Bloomfield attack went ice cold.

In the final couple minutes, players slung the ball into the post, but shots went awry. There were plenty of open looks from beyond the arc, but those also were off target. In the end, Bloomfield didn’t quite get it done.

The players fought back tears leaving the floor.

Bloomfield's Alyssa Quintana (50), Micaela Abeyta (24), Sidney Dugger (40), Lanay Gutierrez (11) and Madison Bedonie (4) fight back tears as they head to the locker room after losing to Los Lunas in Friday's 5A state championship game in Albuquerque.

"Given that we were that close, it just shows we have to keep our composure at all times," Waresback said.

But as much as it stung to have to settle for the state runner-up red trophy instead of the coveted blue trophy, the Lady Bobcats absorbed the fact that they had reached the final night of the girls basketball season.

It was only Bloomfield's second trip to the state finals. The Lady Bobcats were also state runners-up in 1984.

“I’ve never been prouder of a group of athletes in my whole life. These young ladies showed up expecting to win, and they did everything in their power to make it happen,” BHS coach Tom Adair said, fighting back tears of his own. “It breaks my heart because I wanted them to have the blue trophy, but I’m just as proud with that red trophy. And I don’t want them to be disappointed in it, because they gave their heart and soul in every way.”

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.