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Class 4A boys: Roswell puts clamps on Los Lunas in final

Cesar Nava, left, celebrates after Roswell beat Los Lunas for the Class 4A championship on Saturday in the Pit. (Marla Brose/Journal)
Cesar Nava, left, celebrates after Roswell beat Los Lunas for the Class 4A championship on Saturday in the Pit. (Marla Brose/Journal)
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Sophomore Ryan Amador drained four 3-pointers in the third quarter to help top-ranked Roswell break away from Los Lunas 56-41 in a state title game that had the atmosphere of a now-defunct consolation contest.

The crowd was surprisingly flat, and the game didn’t do much to change that — despite a nip-and-tuck opening half between two teams that pride themselves on playing a relentless, uptempo style.

It was simply lifeless in the Pit, and the Coyotes (29-1) appeared to have as many fans as the Tigers — just a few hundred for each — despite Los Lunas being just 20 miles down the road.

The Tigers (25-6) got off to a nice start, with Jacob Holland draining a pair of 3s and Chad Murphy adding another to give Los Lunas a 9-3 lead. But despite both teams trying to push the ball upcourt, they were out of sync. After hitting three of their first four shots, the Tigers missed their next 11 to close the first quarter.

Roswell was just a touch better, finishing the period 4 of 12 and taking a 14-10 lead.

Roswell was getting virtually no production from its two senior stars — Marquel Warner and Cesar Nava, who combined for two points in the first half — but still led 18-13 before Los Lunas closed the half with a 9-3 run to lead 22-21.

The teams combined to make a dismal 13 of 49 shots and commit 16 turnovers in the half.

“At halftime we told them, we’re sitting here with our two leading scorers having two points between them,” said Roswell coach Britt Cooper. “I knew they couldn’t hold us down forever. thing about this team, when you have all five starters averaging double figures, any of them can come up at a given moment.

“ … These kids are special. I knew we weren’t going to panic.”

Los Lunas senior star Chris Sanchez, just 1-of-6 in the first half, scored inside to open the third quarter and make it 24-21. But with the Tigers keying on Warner and Nava, that gave Amador room to work on the left wing. He buried back-to-back 3s and Nava followed with two straight field goals to make it 31-24 Roswell.

“I wasn’t getting frustrated because I wasn’t scoring,” Nava said. “I knew I had to find somebody else who was open.”

That continued to be Amador. He added two more 3s in the next three minutes and the Coyotes led 40-28 at end the of the third quarter and were never challenged.

“I just listened to coach,” Amador said. “He tells us every game, that ‘At the start of the third quarter, put them down.’ That’s what we did. My teammates found me open, and I made the shots.”

Amador finished with a game-high 20 points while Matthew Sedillo added 13 — all from the foul line in 15 attempts.

Holland led the Tigers with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Sanchez had 10 points and Randy Moore added 15 rebounds. But Los Lunas went just 14-of-53 from the floor (26 percent) and had 17 turnovers.

“First off, I want to congratulate Roswell. They are a very good team, ” said Los Lunas coach Travis Julian, whose six seniors also played for the Tigers football team that got to the state championship game in 2012 and the semifinals this past season. “The frustrating thing for us, is they didn’t get our best today. As a team, we just weren’t at our best. We fought, we just didn’t play well today. But we’re very appreciative of these young men. They are arguably the most successful class that has ever been at that school.”

 

(1) ROSWELL 56, (2) LOS LUNAS 41

LOS LUNAS (25-6): Marcos Salcido 0-0 0-0 0, Jacob Holland 5-16 2-4 14, Randy Moore 1-7 1-1 3, Jalen Chavez 0-1 2-2 2, Hector Ayala 0-1 0-0 0, Chad Murphy 3-8 0-0 8, Brendan Fulton 1-3 0-0 2, Sasha Gallegos 0-1 0-0 0, Wayne Byers 0-3 0-0 0, Kayden Walker 0-0 0-0 0, Chris Sanchez 3-12 3-3 10, Marcus Marquez 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 14-53 8-11 41.

ROSWELL (29-1): Dominic Anaya 0-1 0-0 0, Matthew Sedillo 0-3 13-15 13, Chris Mesquita 0-0 0-2 0, Marquel Warner 1-3 0-0 2, Frank De La O 0-1 2-4 2, Gabriel Avitia 0-0 0-0 0, Daniel Amador 7-12, 0-0 20, Cesar Nava 3-9 4-5 10, Jaivion Hicks 4-8 1-4 9. Totals: 15-37 20-30 56.

Los Lunas 10 12 6 13 41

Roswell 14 7 19 16 56

3-pointers: LL 5-21 (Holland 2-4, Moore 0-1, Ayala 0-1, Murphy 2-5, Fulton 0-1, Byers 0-2, Sanchez 1-7); R 6-15 (Anaya 0-1, Sedillo 0-2, Warner 0-1, Amador 6-8). Rebounds: LL 44 (Moore 15, Holland 10); R 30 (Nava 8, Hicks 8). Assists: LL 6 (Murphy 2, Sanchez 2); R 11 (Nava 6). Turnovers: LL 17, R 10. Fouls: LL 22, R 16. Fouled out: None.

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