Lady Miners Sweep 5A North Title – Back to Back Regional Champions

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Ela Aonga, Staff Writer

On both February 17 and 18 of the 2023 basketball season, Bishop Manogue’s Lady Miners exhibited veracious sportsmanship and determinedly played through their outstanding offensive and defensive gameplays, rewarding their hard work with the victory of being regional champions… again, sweeping that 5A North title!

At Manogue, at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, the playoff game against Douglas was almost the mirroring for what was about to take place at the extraordinary regional game the girls would play on Saturday at 4:00 p.m., at Spanish Springs, against their top rival and #1 in the division, Reno High. Both games ending in victory for Manogue, and both displaying the extreme hustle that the lady miners are willing to put in. The mass of the crowd had expressed a series of emotions – from the tension of nervousness of what could happen next, to the unanimous exhilaration of 3 pointers being shot, these girls had the audience on their toes the whole game – anxiously waiting for a victory as the clock ran down.

Miners were in the lead on the scoreboard throughout the duration of the playoff game on the 17th. In the first half, Manogue’s #4 Chloe Pane, made a free throw and a few moments later, #23 Milasarai Tau, makes a 2 pointer, putting the miners in the lead, 3-0, around 6:40 p.m. Throughout the first half, constant free throws and 2 pointers were scored by Tau, Pane and #55 Fa’anaetaua (Taua) Puloka. In the last few minutes, a three pointer was scored by Puloka, and by this, miners were in lead, 20-9, by the end of the first half. Throughout both the 2nd and 3rd quarters, multiple 3 pointers were made by Tau and Puloka, as well as 2 pointers, and amazing help from their teammates Pane, #1 Masyn Navarro, and #14 Anna Alonso. Multiple fouls had been made on Navarro, Pane, and Alonso by Douglas’ #15 Aleeah Weaver, but most free throws were successfully made by the girls, and with only a minute left in the 3rd quarter, Miners were up, 44-37, but a 3 pointer had been made by Douglas’ #24 Zora Simpson, and the beginning of the final quarter was at a score of 44-40. In the last couple of minutes of the final quarter, multiple free throws were made successfully by Tau and Puloka, and now, as the clock was running down, Puloka had ran the final few seconds of the clock out, ending the night in a W for Manogue. The closing score was 56-52.

As the Lady Miners had just won the day before, it didn’t end there as they had to compete the next day, the 18th, to determine which team would go to state, against their school rival, Reno, striking head-to-head for the 5A North Regional title. Throughout the duration of all quarters, Tau and Puloka had made multiple 3 pointers, 2 pointers – along with Pane and Alonso, and free throws. In the final quarter, tension was high. For every free throw either Manogue or Reno would be making, the opposing school’s student section would try their best to distract them from making the shot, sometimes working. Reno’s #32 Khalilah Corley and #25 Adia Walker had kept up a tough fight for the W. In the final moments of the final quarter, Manogue was in the lead, 46-43, and all Reno needed was a 3 pointer, but just in time, Puloka scored a 3 pointer putting Manogue even further in the lead, 49-43. To this, multiple 3 pointers were attempted by Reno’s Corley and Walker. With just a couple seconds, Tau steals the ball to which she and her teammate Puloka run the clock out, winning the title for 5A Northern Regionals. As Puloka and Tau cut their string of the basketball net off – which is a celebratory tradition in basketball after winning an important game – their teammates and supporters joyfully chant celebratory phrases and cheers. A sentimental moment indeed, especially for Puloka, as she is only a freshman. “MVP, MVP, MVP” her teammates continuously chant for Puloka during her turn.

Just like that, the Lady Miners are off to the State Semifinals, in Vegas. They are scheduled to play against Coronado at 6:10 p.m. on Friday, February 24, 2023, at Cox Pavilion, and Centennial and Reno are scheduled to play the same day, but earlier, at 4:30 p.m. Whichever teams win out of both, are the final two teams that are going to compete for the 5A Northern State title. State Championships are scheduled to be the day after State Semifinals on Saturday, February 25, 2023, at the Thomas & Mack Center, at 1:40 p.m. As of right now, the Lady Miners have an overall 69.20% in wins, 18-8, in the league, 13-3, with a streak of 5W, and are currently 2nd in 5A Northern. Tickets can be bought on the NIAA website. Best of luck to our Lady Miners, and as our student section proudly chanted on Saturday, “I believe that we will win!” Go Manogue!