BERNALILLO — Experience matters, and short experience helped make short work of the Dora Coyotes.
Ivery Cardenas scored 17 points, and fifth-seeded Tatum went on a 13-3 run over the final 1:37 to steal a 57-48 victory from Dora in Tuesday afternoon’s Class 1A quarterfinal at Bernalillo High School.
Freshman Devanne Sours added 12 for the Lady Coyotes (21-7), who avenged a 66-53 loss at Dora earlier this season.
Their reward — top-seeded Cliff, which defeated Hondo 71-30 in Tuesday’s earlier quarterfinal.
Tatum coach Mike Majors, who coached Dora in its last state tournament experience — a first-round loss to Cliff in 1993 — said while Sours and Cardenas would get credit, it was a team win.
“We’re fortunate we’ve got a 12-person team,” Majors said, “where 12 people know even if they’re not playing, they contribute. They help as assistant coaches and cheerleaders and all the other things.”
Dora (22-7) got a game-high 24 points from post Kelli Merrick, but could never get into any offensive rhythm. Merrick scored 16 of her points from the line, and the Lady Coyotes were plagued by 12-of-46 shooting from the floor.
“When you get to this point, it’s one-and-done,” Dora coach Caleb King said. “So if you don’t make the plays, you don’t make the shots, you’re out."
Tatum took the lead for good as Cardenas stole a pass at midcourt and scored on a layup with 1:21 left.
While Dora was coming up empty on late possessions, Tatum went 8-of-9 from the line over the last minute to finish off the comeback from a 36-30 deficit to start the fourth quarter.
“We’ve worked on free throws all year,” Majors said, “and the girls stepped up like we hadn’t stepped up so far this year.”
Tori Varnell and Jessica Fierro each added seven points for Dora.