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Vikings’ Zone Flusters ‘Dogs Bulldogs

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Saltes Scores Team-High 17 Points for Victors

The fire marshal closed the doors to jampacked Bulldog City before tipoff. After the tip, Valley did much the same to Albuquerque High.

AHS fans who were frozen out should be grateful, however, because they fared better than the Bulldogs.

Valley’s smothering defense, combined with a stagnant and cold-shooting Albuquerque High offense, left the Vikings in early control of the District 5-5A boys basketball race after a 46-32 victory Friday night.

“You’re able to smile at them while they were getting frustrated out there,” Valley junior guard Robert Armijo said.

This was not, to say the least, AHS’ finest hour.

The Bulldogs have shown explosive tendencies this season, but not Friday.

Valley (13-3, 2-0 in 5-5A) deployed a 2-3 zone that confounded the Bulldogs. AHS guards Mahlik Sims and (especially) Bobby Montoya were prevented from driving to the basket, something they both enjoy, and the ‘Dogs shot a meager 29.3 percent (12-of-41) from the floor.

“We told our kids, when we started the district with Atrisco Heritage and Albuquerque High, they were playing games where they were in the 60s, 70s, 80s,” Valley coach Joe Coleman said. “I don’t know if we can score like that. (So) we built a wall with the 2-3 and kept them from going to the basket.”

Montoya’s performance might have been the most perplexing one for AHS coach Ron Garcia to digest. Montoya came in averaging 13 points a game, but was held scoreless Friday and attempted only four shots.

“We’re just not very consistent on offense. That’s our biggest issue right now,” Garcia said.

Coleman said the Vikings tried to keep a defender in front of both Sims and Montoya, but also that multiple defenders were waiting for them in case they got past.

AHS (9-7, 1-1) scored 14 of its 32 points in the game’s first 8 1/2 minutes. Do the math. That’s 18 points over the game’s final 23 1/2 minutes.

But here was the more telling description — after getting that 14th point early in the second quarter, and until midway through the fourth, Albuquerque High managed only 10 total points.

The Bulldogs went the final 7:39 of the first half with only one basket. Meanwhile, Valley finally overtook AHS for good late in the first half on Joe Anaya’s short jumper.

Valley led 19-16 at halftime.

Armijo and Adonis Saltes combined for 10 of Valley’s 14 third-quarter points as the Vikings took a double-digit lead.

If Valley had gone scoreless in the fourth quarter, it still would have won 33-32.

Saltes had 17 points to lead Valley. Armijo added 11. Sims led AHS with 15.



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