The Lady Troopers came into Friday night’s game needing a win. After losing three straight, Eastwood’s record was an even 9-9, while sporting a 1-2 district record (their only win against Americas and losses to El Dorado and Coronado). They needed a win to continue on their journey towards a playoff berth. With a loud Montwood crowd, the Troopers prevailed as they went on to win 45-36. The team was led by senior forward Christina Eckels who had 16 points of her own.
Things did not look good early for the Troopers as Montwood took an early 9-5 lead. However, the resilience of the Trooper offense proved to light a spark as they went on a 4-0 run to tie the game with a minute left in the quarter. This quarter was highlighted by seniors Jackie Saucedo and Eckels as they provided the much needed offense. The score remained close as Montwood led with a score of 11-12 after one quarter of play.
A sudden sense of urgency rose to the Trooper side as their offense erupted with 14 points in the quarter led by Eckels, and the Saucedo sisters. Getting fouled and finishing with free throws seemed to be the name of the game for the home team. Eight of the 14 points scored were free throws by Eckels who had six and Jazmine Saucedo who added two more. The Troopers shot a perfect 100 percent from the line in this quarter. Eastwood finished the quarter with their first lead of the game as after half of play they led by a score of 25-21. Leading the way for the Troopers was Eckels with 11 points.
Some unexpected offense from point guard play led the Troopers to sustain their lead over the mighty Rams. Senior point guard Briana Vazquez, who has only been averaging two points a game, exploded with two three-pointers in the quarter to help keep the Trooper lead. She ultimately finished the game with a season high of nine points. Free throws were again calling the Troopers as they capitalized on three of four from the free throw line. This left the Lady Troopers in charge with a commanding lead of 36-30.
One more quarter and the girls could snap their losing streak and start on the winning end of things. They did what they had to as Saucedo added three points from the free-throw line and had an assist from Eckels for a lay-in. Senior Zenia Mota added two more at the end as they were "in the bonus." The Lady Troopers finished off the rival Montwood Rams with a score of 45-36. Eckels’ 16 points and five rebounds led the team.
Up next for the Troopers is the Socorro Bulldogs. The team looks to improve their 10-9 record and 2-2 district record as their hunt for playoffs looks brighter with this win.
Tip off is on Tuesday, January 13, at 7:15 at Socorro High School.