The last time Natalia Chavez played in the Pit, the Volcano Vista standout hit one of the most memorable shots in the history of the New Mexico high school state basketball tournament.
On May 9, 2021, Chavez hit a buzzer-beater from half-court in overtime to give Volcano Vista a thrilling 52-49 win over Hobbs in the Class 5A championship game.
Thursday, Chavez and the Hawks returned to the Pit to beat Farmington 67-55 in the state semifinals.
Her championship-winning shot last year gained national buzz, with a video of the half-court heave making SportCenter’s Top 10 plays.
“People still bring up that shot from the beginning of the season until now,” Chavez said. “That gave me a lot of exposure. A lot of people asked me if I was the one that hit it.”
Chavez’s first shot this year in the Pit was a lot like the last one she took: a made 3-pointer.
But there was no need for dramatics in this game. Chavez scored a team-high 21 points as Volcano Vista advanced to Friday’s championship game.
And despite the joy of hitting that game-winner, Chavez is hoping for a less stressful title game this year in a rematch against No. 2 Hobbs.
“Hitting a buzzer beater was fun, but a lot of work went into that,” Chavez said. “Winning by 15 would be good.”