"For the first time in a long time we played together as a team. Everyone on this team was focused on the same goal," said Eagle coach Ruben Valenzuela. "Before the game we all had a little heart-to-heart and our goal was to come out and beat Holtville. Coming into this game, after our last game, we realized that we still have the opportunity to win league."
Coming off an embarrassing 41-19 IVL loss to Brawley Union High on Thursday, Valenzuela's team needed some motivation to get back on track. He found it in his upperclassmen.
"Our two team captains, Monnett De La Torre and Ericka Antunez, really stepped it up out there. They really were like two assistant coaches on the floor, getting the other players motivated," said Valenzuela. "So having them out there really helped a lot."
Also making a difference, along with hitting 18 of 28 free throws, was that nine of Valenzuela's 10 players scored. That helped the Eagles finish above their season average of 45 points per game.
Leading the way for Southwest were Denice Rios with a game-high 18 points, Antunez with 11 points and three steals and Tasha Ernest with 14 rebounds and four steals. Jessica Conway added eight rebounds for the Eagles.
"We wanted this game bad. We needed to win it," Rios said. "We knew that they had a really good team and we knew what they were running and we were ready for it.
"The game got close in the fourth quarter, but all we did was just passed the ball quicker, drove it in and kept getting rebounds," said Rios. "And hitting our free throws was also really important. By making our free throws, we were able to get that lead and then win the game."
Down 38-32 at the start of the fourth quarter the Vikings rallied, outscoring the Eagles 9-5 to pull within two points.
Following a Southwest field goal, Holtville put together a 6-1 spurt to take a 47-46 lead with 2:07 left in the game.
Just as quickly as they took that lead, the Vikings gave it away, allowing Southwest to put together a 10-3 binge to close the game.
Holtville coach Jim Sturgeon pointed to a six-day stretch between games as a factor in his team's loss.
"Our girls were just tentative out there and a lot of that had to do with not having played an actual game in six days. They were really tentative and not aggressive," said Sturgeon. "It seemed like they were more concerned about getting beat instead of playing to win. But you have to give Southwest credit. I really think (Valenzuela) did a really good job getting his kids ready for this game."
Cindy Lopez led Holtville with 14 points followed by Erica Baiz with 10 points.
Both teams will next play at 7 p.m. Friday, with Southwest (3-2 IVL) hosting Central Union High and Holtville (4-1 Desert League) playing at Calipatria.
Brawley 36, Imperial 24
IMPERIAL — The Brawley Union High girls basketball team got past Imperial High 36-24 in league action here Tuesday.
Leading Brawley were Ebony Lofton with 11 points and Whitney Williams with eight.
Jenny Bowlan led Imperial with seven points.
Both teams next play at 7 p.m. Friday with Brawley (3-2 IVL) playing at Calexico and Imperial (1-4 DL) hosting Palo Verde.
La Quinta 52, Central 32
The Central Union High girls basketball team suffered its 10th loss of the season as it fell 52-32 to La Quinta in El Centro on Tuesday.
Leading Central were Janiece Manuel with 15 rebounds, eight points and four blocks, Angelica Asaeli with 10 rebounds, five points and two steals and Stephanie Schuler with eight points.
Central is 3-2 in the IVL.