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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Back-to-Back State Champions

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Sports Editor

Following a five-point service by senior Hannah Ballew late in Game Four that put Artesia on top 20-15, the Bulldogs knew. You could see it in their eyes.

The end didn’t come quickly. It was still eight side-outs and a few points away, and the ‘Dogs were aware that letting up was not an option against a scrappy St. Pius squad. Still, they knew that their second consecutive Class 4A state championship was within their grasp.

“We got this,” the ‘Dogs’ seniors laughed Saturday when asked what was running through their minds as the final points of the match were added to the scoreboard.

Second-ranked St. Pius had come to play and had put the girls in orange on notice early in the match, coming from behind to take the opener, 25-21. But Artesia had responded with identical 25-22 wins in Games Two and Three to put themselves in position to end the match in four. And as the ‘Dogs hit that critical 20-point mark, the sizable contingent of Big Orange fans were on their feet at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho. … For the rest of the story, subscribe in print and on the web.

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