May 8—It will forever be remembered as one of the greatest shots — and most indelible moments — in the history of the New Mexico high school state basketball tournament.
"It felt like a movie," Jaelyn Bates said.
Her Volcano Vista teammate, junior guard Natalia Chavez, banked in a 3-pointer from mid-court on Saturday afternoon — in overtime, no less — in the championship game of the Class 5A girls final at the Pit.
The miracle shot lifted the second-seeded Hawks (13-0) past No. 1 Hobbs 52-49 in a sensational finale to a COVID-shortened season.
Kennedy Brown, with 3.5 seconds left, inbounded from underneath her own basket to Chavez. Chavez dribbled up the center of Bob King Court, then let it fly.
Most everyone inside the Pit was probably expecting a second overtime.
Instead, the crowd erupted as this unlikely 3-pointer swirled through the hoop.
"I just threw it up," Chavez said, "hoping it was gonna go in."
It hit off the glass and rolled briefly around the rim, before falling through, a breathtaking conclusion to what had been an excellent matchup.
And for good measure, Volcano Vista also avenged a loss in the state finals last year to Hobbs.
"It's a good revenge type of thing," Bates said.
The way this unfolded at the end, it was the best revenge Volcano Vista could ever hope to write for itself.
Chavez led Volcano Vista with 21 points. Those heroic final three were the most glorious and unexpected of her Hawks career.
"If I'm gonna be honest, I wasn't aware of the clock at all," she said. "I didn't even know how much time was left. Once I got the ball in and saw them back up, I took the chance and I just went."
The officials briefly consulted a monitor, but the replay screens in the building made it crystal clear that Chavez launched well before the final horn.
"Everything felt slow motion," said Bates, who scored 11 points. "Everything was all quiet. Then once it rolled around in the basket ... just a sigh of relief."
Chavez and Bates, two of New Mexico's premier guards, practice these type of shots all the time at practice, Chavez said. But no one could have foreseen this.
"I can't believe I actually made one in the state championship. In overtime," a giddy Chavez said. That 3 was her fifth of the game.
The Eagles (12-1) were careful not to approach or foul Chavez.
"We backed off, we didn't want them to throw deep," Hobbs coach Joe Carpenter said. "When the guards came up, we just defended them to the best of our ability. The kid made a shot. Just tremendous. Amazing. What do you say to that?"
The game was close and competitive throughout. Hobbs led most of the first half. Volcano Vista pulled in front 22-20 late in the half, but Hobbs — after the first of two, five-minute-plus scoring droughts — tallied the final five, including a 3 from Arilyn Hall, and led 25-22 at halftime.
Hobbs' second scoring drought was more costly. After leading 30-25, Hobbs could manufacture very little offensively. Concurrently, Volcano Vista rattled off the next 13 points and led 38-30 following a Chavez 3, her second of the run.
Another Chavez 3-pointer had the Hawks in front 44-40 with 1:57 left in regulation. Hobbs scored four quick points to tie the game. Neither team scored over the final 75 seconds of regulation, forcing the overtime.
In OT, a banked-in 3 by the Eagles' Brynn Hargrove tied the game at 49. Volcano Vista called timeout with 3.5 seconds remaining.
Anthony and Elise Turrubiates each scored 16 points to lead Hobbs.
— James Yodice
NO. 2 VOLCANO VISTA 52, NO. 1 HOBBS 49, OT
VOLCANO VISTA (13-0): Kennedy Brown 1-3 0-0 3, Jaelyn Bates 3-15 4-4 11, Savannah McGuire 1-3 1-23 3, Giannah Aragon 2-6 0-0 5, Natalia Chavez 8-17 0-0 21, Taejhuan Hill 3-13 3-5 9, Angelyn Aranda 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 18-60 8-11 52.
HOBBS (12-1): Arilyn Hill 2-2 0-0 6, Wisdom Anthony 6-22 1-3 16, Jamiah Clay 0-7 0-0 0, Elise Turrubiates 6-16 4-9 16, Aniya Joseph 2-5 2-2 6, Brynn Hargrove 2-4 0-0 5, Bhret Clay 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-57 7-14 49.
Volcano Vista 12 10 16 6 8 — 52
Hobbs 16 9 9 10 5 — 49
3-point goals: VV 8-26 (Chavez 5-12, Bates 1-8, Aragon 1-4, Brown 1-1, Hill 0-1); H 6-23 (Anthony 3-10, Hall 2-2, Hargrove 1-3, J.Clay 0-6, Turrubiates 0-1, B.Clay 0-1). Rebounds: VV 41 (Hill 11); H 47 (Joseph 19). Assists: VV 12 (Bates 4); H 10 (Anthony 4). Field-goal percentage: VV 30%; H 31.6%. Total fouls: VV 14; H 13. Steals: VV 6 (Bates 4); H 12 (Anthony 5). Blocked shots: VV 3 (Bates, McGuire, Chavez); H 3 (Joseph 2). Turnovers: VV 14; H 14.
Getting out to a good start was imperative for Gallup against Española Valley in Saturday's girls Class 4A basketball state championship finale at the Pit.
So, things couldn't have gone much better than scoring the game's first 10 points.
"When starting fast, it gives us that energy that we need," said Bengals post player Jordan Joe.
Enough energy to never trail and finish off a 63-51 victory, Gallup's first championship first since 2011, while the Sundevils were in the final game for the first time.
"In Gallup, we're expected to be in this game year in and year out," Bengals coach Todd McBroom said. "So it was exciting to go back."
Gallup (14-1) showed its hand in their opening sequence, with 3-pointers from Michaela McCurtain and Trinity Juan, sandwiched around power moves down low from Joe and Hailey Long, and just like that it was 10-0 Bengals.
That outside-inside-outside game proved effective throughout the game.
"They had shooters. They had scorers. They had two big girls that we had a little trouble with," Sundevils coach Joe Estrada said, noting the size discrepancy between the front courts that was about three inches and 40 or more pounds.
"And not just big, they can play. And when you surround that with shooters, you've got a great team."
That's not to say that Española went away easily. The Sundevils (13-2) made a 9-4 run to the start the second quarter, cutting the gap to 24-21, but Gallup hit right back with a 13-2 run to close the half.
"I told the girls at halftime, they're going to make a run," McBroom said of Española Valley. "That's just how it works. They're going to make a run, we just have to make sure to weather it."
Indeed, Española had one more surge after falling behind 41-25 early in the third quarter. Anita DeArguero's third and fourth 3s of the game sparked an 11-2 run that left it a 43-36 game going into the final quarter. Arguero finished with 18 points, and Miranda Sanchez had 10 for the Sundevils.
Enter Joe, who had been pretty quiet on the offense end until this point.
She scored eight of Gallup's first 16 points in the fourth quarter, sinking any comeback thoughts.
"I wasn't scoring the first two quarters, but after the third — and I knew I needed to score — after I got that momentum to score, that's when I started shooting and making those easy baskets," said Joe, who finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Matched with fellow post Long, who had 14 points and five rebounds, the Sundevils had no answer.
"These two are two of the best posts in the state, all classes," McBroom said. "Some games they might be undersized. They were in the first two games this week, but they still took it to them. They've had great weeks."
Joe and Long complement each other and the rest of the lineup well, he said.
"We always talk about whoever is open, we move the ball. I'm gonna tell you, out of the post, these two, it's not like you're going to throw it and you're never going to see the ball again. If they get double-teamed, they're quick to hit the shooters. And the shooters know that so they're willing to throw it in there. Sometimes you play with posts, you throw it in, you know you're never going to see it again. But that's not the way with these two. They're great passers from the post."
No. 4 GALLUP 63, No. 2 ESPAÑOLA VALLEY 51
Gallup 20 17 6 20 — 63
Española Valley 12 11 13 15 — 51
GALLUP (14-1): Trinity Juan 5-8 0-0 13; Kennedy Smiley 2-4 0-0 4; Michaela McCurtain 3-5 4-4 11; Jordan Joe 5-13 0-0 10; Hailey Long 7-11 0-0 14; Esther Cowboy 1-1 0-0 3; Cheyenne John 2-4 0-0 6; Savannah Watson 0-1 0-0 0; Lansia Joe 0-0 0-0 0; Kiera Livingston 0-0 0-0 0; Katherine Lincoln 0-0 0-0 0; Raven Tso 0-0 0-0 0; Daliyah Morris 0-1 0-0 0; Dakota Spencer 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 26-49 4-4 63
ESPAÑOLA VALLEY (13-2): Anita DeGuero 6-14 0-0 18; Miranda Salazar 3-12 2-2 10; Jasmaine Baca 0-8 4-6 4; Destiny Valdez 1-4 0-0 3; Kianna Duran 1-3 0-0 2; Jordan Torres 1-7 0-0 3; Cameron Conners 4-6 0-0 8; Christianne Sandoval 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 17-55 6-8 51
3-point FGs: G 7-15 (Juan 3-5, McCurtain 1-3, Joe 0-2, Cowboy 1-1, John 2-3, Watson 0-1); EV 11-33 (DeArguero 6-12, Salazar 2-6, Baca 0-3, Valdez 1-3, Torres 1-7, Conners 0-1, Sandoval 1-1 ). Rebounds: G 39 (Joe 9); EV 21 (Salazar 8). Assists: G 20 (Smiley 6); EV 12 (Salazar 5). Turnovers: G 17; EV 9. Total fouls: G 10; EV 11. Fouled out: none.
— Glen Rosales
Class 5A GIRLS (with bracket)
Class 4A GIRLS (with bracket)
Class 3A GIRLS (with bracket)
Class 2A GIRLS (with bracket)
Class 1A GIRLS (with bracket)