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Birthday girl sparks fast start

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Birthday girl sparks fast start

JASON FARMER/NEWS-SUN

Try as she might, the last two points just wouldn’t fall in. Despite scoring 12 points in the first quarter, Hobbs junior Kyndle Cunningham, who turned 17 Friday, came up two points shy of scoring her age on her birthday, finishing with 15 in the Lady Eagles’ 69-24 win over Alamogordo in Tasker Arena.

“I was just excited because it was the last game before the Holiday Tournament,” Cunningham said. “We wanted to go out and end on a good note before we start the Holiday Tournament. It was really fun.”

“We tried to get her that 17,” Hobbs coach Joe Carpenter said. “I gave her a few shots at it, then after that no more.”

The Lady Eagles definitely finished their last game before the annual Holiday Tournament strong, dominating the first half of Friday’s non-district matchup. While things slowed down offensively in the second half, the running clock was to blame for most of it.

The Lady Eagles jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. Cunningham got the game’s first bucket when she scored 17 seconds into the game. By the end of the first quarter, Hobbs led 23-8. Cunningham accounted for more than half of the Lady Eagles’ scoring, sinking six buckets for 12 points.

If the Lady Tigers thought they still had a hope keeping the game close against Hobbs after first quarter, the Lady Eagles dispelled any notion of that in the second quarter when their offense, and defense, both picked up the pace.

“I think they gave us a little run for our money early on,” Carpenter said. “They tried to slow us up and spread the floor and give us a two-one-two, pass the ball and be methodical with the clock. They had some success with that early on, but we just tried to pressure the ball after that and tried to get them to make mistakes.”

Hobbs scored 28 points in the second quarter and held Alamogordo to just six. The Lady Eagles closed out the second quarter on a 25-2 and 9-0 run.

The Lady Tigers got a jumper to start the second quarter and Hobbs quickly answered with a trey from Brynn Hargrove. After Alamogordo got another bucket on an offensive rebound, the Lady Eagles went on a 16-0 run.

Alamogordo’s defense found a way to contain Cunningham in the second quarter, but that let Bhret Clay open and the junior scored 10 of her game-high 20 points in the second.

“Of my 20 points, I think probably 12 of those were off easy buckets from defense and just being in the right spot at the right time on the floor,” Clay said. “I feel like when we have really good defense and a lot of pressure, it makes it easy for us to get quick buckets.”

By halftime, the Lady Eagles held a commanding 51-14 lead.

Following the break, a running clock was put in motion as the Lady Eagles led by more than 35 points. The running clock never stopped.

“Twelve of their first 13 possessions in the second quarter were turnovers,” Carpenter said. “When that happens, and we translate that into points, that is when the game got really big time up into the 30-point (lead).”

With the running clock in motion, Hobbs only managed to score seven points in the third quarter. It was still enough to increase its lead though as Alamogordo had its lowest-scoring quarter of the game, recording just two bucket.

“The running clock kind of jacked a few things up,” Carpenter said. “It is just a weird deal sometimes.”

The Lady Eagles got 11 points over the final eight minutes of play while Alamogordo scored six.

Hobbs had three players in double figures. Clay led all scorers, and nearly matched Alamogordo herself with 20 points, while Cunningham had 15 and Jayla David chipped in 13. Hargrove scored nine points and Nakia Mojica finished with five. Clay led the Lady Eagles in rebounding, grabbing six while Cunningham finished with five boards.

“Bhret had a great game overall,” the Lady Eagles’ coach said. “Kyndle got us started with 12 in the first quarter. That was huge for us to get going early. She was kind of the offense for us there in the first quarter and Bhret jumped in during the second. It was a committee after that.”

Carolina Saiz and Kacelynn Muniez each had a trey while Aliana Armitage finished with a bucket and four rebounds. Muniez also had three steals.

Alamogordo’s top scorer was Teeya Gordon who had 14 of the Lady Tigers’ 24 points. She also had a game-high eight rebounds for the Lady Tigers who fell to 5-5 with the loss.

With the win, the Lady Eagles have now won eight straight and improve to 8-1 on the season. Next up for Hobbs is the Hobbs Holiday Tournament. The Lady Eagles will match up with Ferris (9-9, 1-2) on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

“I wanted to go into the tournament really confident,” Clay said. “I feel like we haven’t gotten ourselves a tournament (title) yet. This is our year to go out and win it. So I wanted to go into it on a good stride and feel confident.”

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