RIO RANCHO — Menaul advanced to its first state championship game in 30 years by knocking off 2A’s top seed Magdalena 69-55 Thursday night in semifinal action.
Michael Ou poured in 31 points and grabbed 19 rebounds for the No. 5-seeded Panthers (26-5), who meet No. 2-seedFort Sumner/House Saturday at 6 p.m at Dreamstyle Arena.
Menaul played in the 2A final in 1988 — a game it lost— but a player from that team spoke with the team earlier in the day.
“There are steps we wanted to take,” said Menaul coach Gary Boatman. “The alumni are coming around, and that ’88 team … this team is bring that fire back to Menaul that was there in the 1980s.”
Ou was a fixture in every key Panthers run. He had 10 points in the second quarter helping his team build a 31-19 halftime lead, and he scored 10 more in the third helping extend the lead to 15 in the third.
“We wanted to beat them one time,” Ou said, whose club lost three times to Magdalena this season. “And we did that.”
Magdalena (28-2) was in its fourth straight final four and was looking to match the 2015 team’s state title.
The Steers relied mainly on the 3-pointer, hitting 11 out of 36 attempts, in large part to avoid Ou’s 6-foot-9 presence on the interior.
“Some of our shots weren’t falling, and we took some bad ones,” said Steers guard Jorrell Mirabal. “At times we should have taken better ones. We were passive at times when we should have been aggressive, and (Menaul) hit huge shots.”
Richie Chavez led Magdalena with 15 points.
— Patrick Newell
No. 2 FORT SUMNER/HOUSE 60, No. 3 MESILLA VALLEY 58 (OT): West scored to give the Foxes a 48-44 lead with 1:15 left in regulation but Mesilla Valley later tied things on a Nolan Nunley’s steal and layup with 38 seconds left. The Blazers forced another turnover and had two short jumpers in the final seconds but missed on both to force overtime.
The teams traded the lead several times in overtime before West’s three-point play put Fort Sumner/House ahead 56-55 with 1:03 left. The Blazers twice missed the front of one-and-one opportunities in the final minute while Maxwell went 4-for-4 from the line to make the score 60-55.
Michael Johnson swished a 3-pointer to get Mesilla Valley close, but his final jumper for the lead rattled out as time expired.
Josh Castillo scored 15 points to lead Mesilla Valley. The Son Blazers got double-doubles from Nolan Nunley (14 points and 11 rebounds) and Noah Coyle (10 points and 14 rebounds).
— Ken Sickenger
MESILLA VALLEY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL (23-3) Noah Coyle 10, Hunter Conn 10, Michael Johnson 9, Josh Castillo 15, Nolan Nunley 14, Braden Dwyer 0, Brayden Wells 0. Totals 22-60-FG 8-14-FT 58.
FORT SUMNER/HOUSE (23-6) Francisco Chavez 0, Alex Moyer 0, Brant West 25, Cory Terrell 5, Jude Segura 4, Noah Maxwell 15, Izaiah Padilla 0, Hunter Sturgeon 9, Kreston Butterfield 2. Totals 22-57-FG 9-15-FT 60.
Mesilla Valley Christian School
11 15 12 10 10—58
Fort Sumner/House 8 17 13 10 12—60
3-Point FG: MVCS 6 (Coyle, Conn 2, Johnson 3); FSH 7 (West, Terrell, Maxwell 5). Rebounds: MVCS 42 (Coyle 14); FSH 40 (Butterfield 8). Assists: MVCS 13 (Coyle 5); FSH 7 (West 3). Team Fouls: MVCS 15; FSH 17. Fouled Out: MVCS, Coyle; FSH, Sturgeon.