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North squad rolls to 67-65 victory in Albuquerque

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ALBUQUERQUE — Four area girls basketball players had just three days to build chemistry playing alongside each other, rather than against each other, in Friday’s 5A/6A New Mexico North-South All Star Game at Albuquerque High School.

But they made the most of their final curtain call at the prep level by playing for the North squad, which defeated the South in a 67-65 shootout.

Bloomfield’s Brandi Alcantar, Piedra Vista’s Dani Russo, Aztec’s Myra McCaskill and Kirtland Central’s Haile Gleason suited up in red with some of New Mexico’s top talent such as Cibola’s Amaya Brown, sharing the ball.

“It was fun getting to know them throughout the week. And just playing with amazing players, it makes you better,” Russo said.

The North faced stiff competition in the South, which featured players such as Las Cruces’ Sarah Abney, Hobbs’ Amaya Lewis and the Los Lunas trio of Mica Jenrette, Maya Trujillo and Hayley Torres.

But the North roster was just as impressive. Despite facing each other many times on the floor during their high school careers, the players’ chemistry was apparent from start to end.

The occasion was bittersweet, however.

North squad players concluded their high school careers victorious, but it was also somber for some, especially Alcantar and North coach Tom Adair.

Adair and Alcantar led Bloomfield to the state championship game in March, the Lady Bobcats’ first finals appearance since 1984, but Friday’s All Star game marked the end of their high school association.

“(It’s) definitely emotional. (I) am definitely going to miss it. (Adair’s) a great coach, and I’m going to miss him,” Alcantar said.

Diana Cervantes is a recent University of New Mexico journalism graduate and freelancer. She can be reached via Twitter at @Dee_Sea_.

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