3-point goals: AH 7-18 (Waquie 6-6, Ortega 1-5, Brooks 0-6, Torres 0-1); S 8-11 (Cumber 5-6, Lentsch 3-5). Rebounds: AH 26 (Brooks 6); S 24 (Brennan 8). Assists: AH 8 (Waquie 5); S 13 (Ashbaugh 4). Turnovers: AH 10; S 10. Total fouls: AH 19; S 23. Fouled out: AH, Peace; S, Tarin, Lentsch.
No. 1 VALLEY 58, No. 5 HOBBS 52: The Vikings (26-2) advanced to their first state title game since the state went to five classes with an impressive victory over the Eagles.
Valley faces District 5-5A rival Atrisco at 8 p.m. Saturday in the finals. The Vikings beat the Jaguars in two of three meetings this season, including a convincing win in the 5-5A tournament final two weeks ago.
Although the Vikings didn’t get much in the way of offense from leading scorer Adonis Saltes, who finished with a quiet 13 points, senior guard Joe Anaya carried Valley with28 points.
Valley broke free from Hobbs in the third quarter after the score was tied at 27. Saltes scored from close after Bo Coleman kept a posession alive with an offensive rebound. Anaya followed with a three-point play and a 32-27 lead. Anaya’s body was at a 45-degree angle when he shot the ball off the glass.
The Vikings led by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Kelvin Jones led Hobbs (23-8) with 13 points.
No. 3 Atrisco Heritage 72, No. 2 Sandia 68: The Sandia Matadors lived through the Bryce Alford and Cullen Neal years, but neither of them left an emotional scar on Sandia anywhere near as deep as the one Corbin Waquie inflicted Thursday night.
In a playoff performance for the ages, Waquie delivered one of the most startling performances ever seen at a state tournament, torching the Matadors for 38 points as No. 3 Atrisco Heritage beat No. 2 Sandia 72-68 in a thrilling Class 5A semifinal at the Pit.
“He was awesome,” Matadors coach Alvin Broussard said of Waquie. “That’s all there is to it.”
Waquie, a 5-foot-9 senior guard, went 12-of-13 from the field, including a perfect 6-of-6 from beyond the arc, and just about carried Atrisco Heritage, a second-year 5A program, single-handedly into Saturday night’s championship game (8 o’clock) against Valley or Hobbs.
“We were all talking about this before the game, how bad we wanted to get to the state championship game,” said Waquie. “This was my dream since I was a little kid.”
There was nothing Waquie couldn’t or wouldn’t do Thursday night. Poetically, he started the game with with three 3s in the game’s first 3 minutes and 3 seconds.
“I had a lot of confidence going into this game,” Waquie said. “There was nothing holding me back.”
And although Sandia had to deal with the likes of Eldorado’s Neal and La Cueva’s Alford as district rivals the previous four years, never, Broussard said, had any player carved up his team as exquisitely as did Waquie.
“Not like the way he did,” Broussard said.
Atrisco Heritage (24-5) had actually been to the semifinals before — two years ago in its final season as a 4A program.
Waquie was one of the sophomore standouts on that team, and on Thursday he transformed the Pit into his personal playground against Sandia.
“If he gets going like that,” Sandia senior forward Tim Brennan said through watery eyes, “it’s real hard to beat them.”
The Jaguars and Matadors (21-7) put on an outstanding show throughout.
Consider that Sandia shot 59 percent from the floor, including 8-of-11 from the arc, committed just 10 turnovers, and still didn’t win.
“Our kids have so much courage and guts,” Atrisco coach Adrian Ortega said. “I’m just thrilled for them.”
Atrisco Heritage shot 53 percent (23 of 43) and nearly 80 percent from the line, while giving it away just 10 times itself.
Waquie set the tone with 15 first-quarter points (including four treys) for the Jaguars, who led 19-13 after one quarter.
Down eight in the second quarter, Sandia battled back and tied the game at 25 midway through the quarter. Waquie buried a long jumper and also scored on a drive, and then tossed in another 3, as the Jaguars led 32-30 at halftime.
Sandia’s Jordan Jones’ three-point play late in the third quarter put the Matadors in front, 48-47 — their first lead since the first two minutes of the game.
Sandia, with its size advantage, made Atrisco play from behind for most of the fourth quarter, and the Matadors led 60-56 with 3:41 left after Adam Cumber made a strong move and finished near the basket.
Then it was time for the other half of Atrisco’s fabulous backcourt, Joe Brooks, to make himself heard.
Brooks labored from the field most of the night, but, down 60-57, he scored 10 straight points for his team, eight of them from the free-throw line as the Jaguars reclaimed the lead at 67-62.
There was also a crucial offensive foul against Sandia’s Ryan Ashbaugh during this sequence; DeShawn Lucero took the charge for Atrisco with Sandia trailing 63-61 with 1:47 to go.
Brooks finished with 17 points, and he made all nine of his free throws. Some nights, it’s Brooks who can light it up. This time it was Waquie.
“It’s fun to watch him when he goes off like that,” Brooks said. “I know when he gets in a zone, he can do whatever he wants. It’s probably the best game I’ve ever seen him play.”
Fittingly, Waquie had Atrisco’s final five points from the line as the Jaguars withstood two late desperation 3-pointers by Cumber, who led his team with 20 points. Cumber was 5-of-6 from the arc.
“Corbin refused to let us lose,” Ortega said. “And he’s been that way all year long.”
Sandia handled Atrisco Heritage at the metro tournament two months ago, winning comfortably in the semifinals of that event.
“That first game, we pressed for 32 minutes,” Ortega said .”I told the team that I would take the loss on that one. Our plan today was to keep the ball in front of us, double-down on Brennan, and make their bigs make decisions from the free-throw line.”
And now, Atrisco Heritage is 32 minutes away from a blue trophy.
“I felt like we had a serious chance of going far,” Ortega said.
He was also reminded of something he said before the state tournament began, that it would be wrong to bet against the Jaguars.
“That still holds true,” Ortega said.
ATRISCO HERITAGE (24-5) 72
Zeke Katesigwa 0-0 0-1 0, Corbin Waquie 12-13 8-11 38, Joe Brooks 4-15 9-9 17, Adrian Ortega 1-5 0-1 3, Jeremy Torres 0-1 0-0 0, Patrick Roark 3-6 2-2 8, Deven Peace 3-3 0-0 6. Totals 23-43 19-24 72.
SANDIA (21-7) 68
Jordan Jones 3-5 4-4 10, Sam Crews 1-1 0-0 2, Ryan Ashbaugh 2-3 1-2 5, James Lentsch 4-6 0-0 11, Jason Tarin 0-0 3-4 3, Tim Brennan 5-9 5-8 15, Adam Cumber 7-11 1-3 20, Caleb Wrotten 1-4 0-2 2. Totals 23-39 14-23 68.
Atrisco Heritage 19 13 17 23 — 72
Sandia 13 17 18 20 — 68