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Prep hoops Friday, the latest: Robertson, Pecos, Los Lunas win championships

The action continues on a frenetic Friday at Dreamstyle Arena — the Pit for the prep basketball state tournament. There are seven games today  — semifinals in 2A and 3A boys, and finals in 2A, 3A and 4A girls. In addition to coverage of those games, be sure to check back here on the website and in Saturday’s Journal print edition for previews of Saturday’s seven championship matchups.

Today’s schedule

CLASS 2A BOYS semifinals (click here for bracket)

No. 1 Pecos is one victory away from its third consecutive state championship after holding off Texico 73-67 in overtime on Friday in the Class 2A boys semifinals at Dreamstyle Arena — the Pit.

Coach Ira Harge Jr.’s Panthers (26-3) got up early, both in the morning, and in Friday’s game — and will have to do so Saturday to capture another blue trophy. That game, against third-seeded Newcomb (29-2), tips off at 8 a.m. The Skyhawks nipped Mesilla Valley Christian 50-48 in the othe semi.

No. 1 PECOS 73, No. 4 TEXICO 67: The Panthers were an impressive 10-of-19 on 3-point attempts — 2-of-3 in overtime — and they needed every one of them to hold off the Wolverines (23-8).

Junior Ismael Villegas had a game-high 27 points and 12 rebounds for Pecos. He was an efficient 12-of-17 from the field. Xavier Padilla added 16 points and Omar Dominguez 11.

Dalton Thatcher had a team-high 20 points for The Wolverines (23-8), and Skyler Davis added 14 points and 13 rebounds. The Wolverines outrebounded the Panthers 38-28 and shot 56 percent in the second half to help rally from a 33-21 halftime deficit.

No. 1 PECOS 73, No. 4 TEXICO 67

TEXICO (23-8): Skyler Davis 6-15, 2-2 15, Josh Estes 0-0 0-0 0, Anders Nelson 4-8 0-0 9, Dalton Thatcher 8-18 2-2 20, Davalos 0-0 0-2 0, Luke Phipps 4-8 5-9 13, Gabriel Bailey 0-2 2-2 2, Cole Rohrbach 4-6 0-2 8. Totals 26-55 11-19 67.

PECOS (26-3): Omar Dominguez 4-13 0-1 11, Anthony Armijo 3-10 0-0 8, Isaac Gonzales 3-4 1-2 9, Devon Gonzales 0-0 0-0 0, Xavier Padilla 6-8 1-2 16, Juan Varela 1-1 0-0 2, Ismael Villegas 12-17 3-5 27. Totals 29-53 5-10 73.

Texico 7 14 17 21 — 67

Pecos 12 21 11 15 — 73

3-Point FGs: T 4-18 (Davis 1-4, Nelson 1-4, Thatcher 2-9, Phipps 0-1), P 10-19 (Dominguez 3-7, Armijo 2-7, Gonzales 2-2, Padilla 3-3). Assists: T 9 (Thatcher, Phipps 4), P 21 (Armijo 9). Rebounds: T 38 (Davis 13), P 28 (Villegas 12). Total fouls: T 10, P 16.

No. 3 NEWCOMB 50, No. 7 MESILLA VALLEY CHRISTIAN 48: Deondre Begay scored 20 points as the Skyhawks rallied from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter to hold off the SonBlazers (22-7).

Noah Coyle was outstanding in a losing effort for Mesilla Valley Christian, which upset No. 2 Santa Rosa in Wednesday’s quarterfinals. Coyle had game-highs of 23 points and 12 rebounds and hit all 11 of his free throws. But the rest of the Sonblazers were only 10-of-27 from the field and only got to the foul line for seven tries.

Coach Dominique Richardson’s Skyhawks are on a 16-game winning tear; they lost only to Santa Rosa and Fruita Monument, Colo.


MESILLA VALLEY CHRISTIAN ((22-7): Noah Coyle 5-11 11-11 23, Michael Johnson 3-5 0-1 7, Brayden Wells 2-6 2-4 7, Nolan Nunley 4-9 0-2 8, James Benjamin 0-2 0-0 0, Steele Schweinebraten 1-5 0-0 3. Totals 15-38 13-18 48.

NEWCOMB (29-2): Deion Johnhat 3-11 0-0 6, Kelkenny Watchman 3-9 0-0 8, Deontay Begay 3-7 0-0 8, Shannon Bitsilly 3-5 0-0 6, Deondre Begay 9-17 2-4 20, Chad Begay 0-0 0-0 0, Tracey Bryant 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 22-53 2-4 50.

MV 13 9 19 7 — 48

Newcomb 11 11 10 18 — 50

3-Point FGs: MV 5-18 (Coyle 2-4, Johnson 1-3, Wells 1-5, Nunley 0-1, Benjamin 0-1, Schweinebraten 1-4), N 4-12 (Johnhat 0-2, Watchman 2-4, Deontay Begay 2-4, Deondre Begay 0-1, Bryant 0-1). Assists: MV 6 (Coyle, Johnson 2), N 7 (Deondre Begay 3). Rebounds: MV 34 (Coyle 12), N 27 (Watchman 6). Total fouls: MV 11, N 17. Fouled out: MV, Johnson.


Hot Springs’ Nathan Salcido (20) works to get around Sandia Prep’s Sam Henderson during their semifinal Friday in the Pit. Salcido scored nine points in the game. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

CLASS 3A BOYS semifinals (click here for bracket)

It’s been a long time coming for the Hot Springs boys basketball program.

For the first time in 25 years, the Tigers are headed to a state championship game after knocking off Sandia Prep 53-42 in a Class 3A semifinal at DreamStyle Arena—the Pit on Friday. Back in the era of former Lobo Royce Olney, Hot Springs made three consecutive finals — winning one and losing two — from 1992 to 1994.

“They were all in the stands,” Tigers coach Derek Bean said of the former players. “They’re excited for these guys. They’ve been reaching out to them, telling them: ‘We got your back.'”

Hot Springs will move on to face Santa Fe Indian, which defeated St. Michael’s 48-35. It was the Braves’ first victory in five tries against the Horseman this season.

The final is Saturday at the Pit at noon.

NO. 3 HOT SPRINGS 53, NO. 2 SANDIA PREP 42: Verrels Lukman paced Hot Springs (25-4) with 21 points and the Tigers held Sandia Prep (20-11) to just 36 percent from the field in a suffocating win. That figure included a 5-for-21 effort from junior Max Feit, who paced the Sundevils with 15 points. Despite having a significant size advantage, Sandia Prep never truly looked comfortable.

“They’re a big squad, well coached,” said Bean. “We wanted to come in and disrupt — play our hard-nosed southern defense. Our goal is constantly to hold teams under 40. We tell the boys, ‘Sink your teeth in and just dig deep.'”

That defensive effort included a stifling effort on Sundevils leading scorer Sam Henderson, who finished with seven points on just six shots.

“They played really physical defense and held us down. And they just hit shots,” said Sandia Prep coach Marcos Rivera. “They made more plays than we did. I thought our defense was pretty good, but they were the better team today.”

Lukman had eight points and two assists as Hot Springs expanded a two-point halftime lead to six after three quarters. The Tigers pulled away in the final stanza, scoring all but two of their points from the free-throw line.


HOT SPRINGS (26-4): Michael Ortiz 0-1 0-0 0, Aljon Pinili 1-3 1-2 4, Coltin Whitehead 1-7 0-0 3, Verrels Lukman 5-10 8-11 21, Nathan Salcido 3-5 3-4 9, James Childress 1-3 0-0 2, Tino Luna 2-4 4-4 8, Juan Avalos 3-4 0-2 6. Totals 16-37 16-23 53.

SANDIA PREP (20-11): Nathan Nguyen 0-2 0-0 0, Robert McWilliams 0-0 1-2 1, Sam Henderson 3-6 0-0 7, Atlee Gaddis 7-8 0-1 14, David Gelb 0-6 3-6 3, Jacob Montoya 1-2 0-0 2, Max Feit 5-21 5-8 15. Totals 16-45 9-17 42.

Hot Springs 16  6  18  13 —53

Sandia Prep 11  9  14    8—42

3-Point Goals—Hot Springs 5-10 (Ortiz 0-1, Pinili 1-2, Whitehead 1-3, Lukman 3-4), Sandia Prep 1-9 (McWilliams 0-1, Henderson 1-1, Gelb 0-3, Feit 0-4). Assists—Hot Springs 6 (Lukman, Salcido 2), Sandia Prep 5 (Henderson, Gaddis 2). Fouled Out—Sandia Prep: Gaddis. Rebounds—Hot Springs 34 (Luna (8), Sandia Prep 31 (Gelb, Feit 7). Total Fouls—Hot Springs 17, Sandia Prep 17.


NO. 4 SANTA FE INDIAN 48, NO. 1 ST. MICHAEL’S 35: The Braves started and ended with a flourish. In between, the Horsemen couldn’t quite catch up.

Santa Fe Indian scored the first eight points of the game, setting the tone for a frustrating afternoon for the Horsemen. The Braves hit five 3-pointers during a first-half charge to a 13-point lead before St. Michael’s cut the margin to five at halftime.

“It was huge,” Santa Fe Indian coach Jason Abeyta said of the fast start. “It got the crowd into it and I think that helped us a lot. I told the boys we almost have to play perfect to beat a team like that, and we nearly did play perfect.”

St. Michael’s (21-9) got to within 28-27 with 3:36 remaining in the third quarter. However, the Braves (20-11) closed the period on an 8-2 run to build the margin back to seven. The Horsemen continued to hang around, pulling to 40-35 on a Devon Flores layup with 4:21 remaining in the game.

However, the Braves scored the final eight points.

— Tristen Critchfield


SANTA FE INDIAN (20-11): Ethan Roanhorse 1-3 0-0 2, Jason Abeyta 1-5 1-4 3, Anders Pecos 2-7 1-2 7, Virgil Valencia 2-3 0-0 5, James Bridges 8-12 2-3 19, Jaden Aguino 5-7 0-0 11, Shaun Riley 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 19-38 5-11 48

ST. MICHAELS (21-9): Jacob Roybal 0-1 0-0 0, Hayden Lee 2-4 0-0 4, Thomas Wood 2-7 0-0 4, Victor Otero 0-3 0-0, Jevon Montoya 1-6 2-3 4, Dominic Morgan 3-4 3-3 9, Dillon Montoya 0-1 0-0 0, Lucas Coriz 1-1 0-0 2, Devon Flores 3-7 5-6 11, Connor Glatz 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 12-36 11-14 35.

Santa Fe Indian 15    8  13  12—48

St. Michael’s   6  12  11    6—35

3-Point Goals—Santa Fe Indian 5-14 (Roanhorse 0-1, Abeyta 0-2, Pecos 2-5, Valencia 1-2, Bridges 1-2, Aguino 1-2), St. Michael’s 0-6 (Thomas Wood 0-1, Victor Otero 0-2, Jevon Montoya 0-3). Assists—Santa Fe Indian 9 (Abeyta, Pecos, Bridges, Aguino 2), St. Michael’s 7 (Roybal, Otero, J. Montoya, Morgan, D. Montoya, Coriz, Flores, Glatz 1). Rebounds—Santa Fe Indian 27 (Bridges 11), St. Michael’s 25 (Wood 7). Total Fouls—Santa Fe Indian 14, St. Michael’s 14.

Robertson’s Alianza Darley (14) takes the ball to the hoop and get fouled on the way by Santa Fe Indian School’s Marlena Yazzie during the 3A championship game in the Pit Friday afternoon. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

CLASS 3A GIRLS final (click here for bracket)

No. 1 ROBERTSON 62, No. 2 SANTA FE INDIAN 46: We’ll give this Las Vegas a new moniker: Win City.

Robertson High School’s girls basketball team on Friday afternoon won the program’s first state championship, as Robertson rolled past district rival Santa Fe Indian 62-46 in the Class 3A final at Dreamstyle Arena.

“We made history in Las Vegas,” Robertson coach Jose Medina said.

No boys or girls team from Robertson or West Las Vegas had ever won a state basketball crown until Friday.

“It’s something we’ll always remember,” said Medina, who coached West Las Vegas last season before taking over at his alma mater. “When these girls have their 10-year reunion, that’s the first thing they’ll talk about.”

Medina and his team (29-2) couldn’t have scripted it much better as the Cardinals beat the district rival Lady Braves (27-5) for the fourth time in five meetings this season.

A competitive first quarter quickly gave way to a one-sided game.

Leading 16-13, Robertson went on a 16-2 run over the final 7½ minutes of the first half, carried a 32-15 edge up the ramp, and that lead never was approached by SFIS.

At the end of that run, 5-foot-10 senior Alianza Darley scored five points, including a 3-pointer. A position switch proved beneficial for Darley, who finished with 27 points and nine rebounds.

Darley, a 2-guard in the previous meetings against SFIS, was moved down low by Medina to great effect on Friday.

“It was different, but it was something I got used to right away,” said Darley, who along with forward Jazmyne Jenkins (12 points, 7 boards) dominated the smaller Lady Braves. “I know how to play every position.”

Tessa Ortiz of the Cardinals added 12 points and five assists.

Robertson had only been in the state final once before, in 2001. Ortiz’s father Benny coached that team.

Hunter Garcia of SFIS led the Lady Braves with 14 points.

“We talk about the three ‘Es’: energy, effort and execution. And we added one more for this week: emotion,” Medina said. “These girls do a great job of feeding off of that.”

Four of SFIS’ five losses this season came to Robertson. The Lady Braves, with a new defense after three previous defeats, had taken the most recent meeting, the district tournament final. After falling into a big hole Friday, SFIS went to a triangle-and-two defense and cut into the deficit considerably. But Robertson — which had 34 turnovers Thursday in the semifinals against Navajo Prep — adjusted before the game became uncomfortably close.

“I do have to give them a lot of credit,” said Lady Braves guard Leanna Lewis. “They are a disciplined team and a well-coached team.”

— James Yodice
SFIS (27-5): Marlene Yazzie 2-10 1-2 6, Leanna Lewis 2-7 2-4 8, Iris Emery 3-10 1-3 8, Ceceila James 0-0 0-0 0, Cameron Conners 2-6 0-0 5, Jayda Lucario 1-1 0-0 3, Hunter Garcia 4-6 5-5 14, Franki Maestas-Chavez 0-2 0-0 0, Camilla Lewis 1-4 0-0 2.  Totals 15-46 9-14 46.
ROBERTSON (29-2): Gabriela Trujillo 1-2 0-0 3, Alianza Darley 11-14 4-6 27, Shayla Hillis 2-5 0-0 4, Jasmine Jaramillo 1-2 0-0 2, Tessa Ortiz 3-12 6-7 12, Jasmine Barela 0-1 0-0 0, Jazmyne Jenkins 4-12 3-7 12, Jayden Jenkins 1-3 0-3 2.  Totals 23-51 13-23 62.
Santa Fe Indian     10      5     17     14 — 46
Robertson              14    18     16     14 — 62
3-point goals: SFIS 7-18 (L.Lewis 2-4, Conners 1-1, Lucario 1-1, Garcia 1-1, Emery 1-2, Yazzie 1-6, Maestas-Chavez 0-1, C.Lewis 0-2); R 3-11 (Jaz.Jenkins 1-1, Trujillo 1-2, Darley 1-2, Hillis 0-2, Ortiz 0-4).Field-goal percentages: SFIS 24 first half, 43 second half, 33 game; R 43 first half, 48 second half, 45 game. Rebounds: SFIS 34 (Yazzie, C.Lewis 6); R 40 (Darley 9). Assists: SFIS 11 (Yazzie 3); R 15 (Ortiz 5). Total fouls: SFIS 18; R 12. Turnovers: SFIS 19; R 12. Steals: SFIS 7; R 11. Blocked shots: SFIS 3; R 4.


The Pecos girls basketball team celebrates its overtime victory over Mescalero Apache for the girls 2A championship on Friday.
(Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

CLASS 2A GIRLS final (click here for bracket)

The Pecos Panthers made history Friday, winning the first girls basketball state championship in school history.

Not without some incredibly nervous minutes.

Brittney Martinez scored 22 points, four in overtime, and Pecos pulled out a dramatic 53-46 victory over Mescalero Apache in the Class 2A final at Dreamstyle Arena. The third-seeded Panthers and eighth-seeded Chiefs both were vying for their first-ever titles, and the winner ended up riding on one 15-foot shot.

Pecos (23-6) led 38-36 with 6.9 seconds left in regulation, but the Chiefs (23-8) worked the ball underneath to freshman Pearl Pike. She hit a tying layup — on her only shot from the field — and was fouled as the horn sounded.

But Pike and everyone else had to wait nearly five minutes as officials checked video replay to determine that 0.1 seconds remained.

“We were just praying (Pike’s free throw to complete a 3-point play) wouldn’t go in,” said Pecos’ Trinity Herrera.

Pike’s free throw hit the back iron then rolled off the rim, sending the contest to overtime.

It was all Panthers from there.

Herrera converted a three-point play, and Martinez hit a pair of short jumpers as Pecos grabbed a 47-40 lead — its largest of the game. The Chiefs were unable to get closer than a five-point deficit the rest of the way, sending Pecos fans and veteran coach Ron Drake into celebration mode.

“This means so much to Pecos and the community,” Drake said. “I enjoy it, too, but I’m happiest for these girls right now.”

It was a battle between two former Santa Fe High School coaches in Drake and Mescalero’s Elmer Chavez, and both pulled their share of strategic strings. Mescalero spent much of the game in a diamond-and-one defense aimed at stopping Pecos’ Cassaundra Muller. It largely worked as she scored nine points.

But Pecos’ combination of zone defense and occasional traps was effective, as well, and neither team could build a significant lead. The game was tied six times and had nine lead changes.

Ramona Fossum scored 19 points to lead Mescalero, which knocked off top-seeded Texico on its way to the title game.

Herrera scored 14 for Pecos and had 11 rebounds. The latter number was part of the Panthers’ 60-34 rebound advantage — one that included two key putbacks by Faith Flores in overtime.

“Coach just told me if I rebound, we take the game,” said Flores, who had 13 boards. “That’s all I was thinking. It was just time for us to shine.”

— Ken Sickenger

NO. 3 PECOS 53,


MESCALERO APACHE (23-7): Ramona Fossum 6-16 4-4 19, Pearl Pike 1-1 0-1 2, Alyn Kirjan-Kazhe 0-4 0-0 0, Samantha Kazhe 5-7 3-8 13, Fallon Velasquez 5-15 0-0 10, Tunte Baca 0-6 0-0 0, Mia Fatty 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 18-51 7-13 46.

PECOS (22-6): Trinity Herrera 6-13 1-4 14, Lexi Gonzales 0-6 1-4 1, Cassaundra Muller 2-6 4-6 9, Brittney Martinez 7-25 6-10 22, Faith Flores 2-6 3-4 7, Desiree Sena 0-2 0-0 0, Mariah Sandoval 0-0 0-0 0, Mikayla Gonzales 0-1, 0-0 0. Totals 17-59 15-28 53.

Mescalero Apache 7 11 10 10 8 —46

Pecos 6 12 9 11 15 —53

3-Point Goals: MA 3-15 (Fossum 3-7, Kirjan-Kazhe 0-2, Velasquez 0-2, Baca 0-4), P 4-25 (Herrera 1-4, L Gonzales 0-3, Muller 1-2, Martinez 2-15, Sena 0-1). Assists: MA 11 (Baca 3, Fatty 3), P 7 (L Gonzales 3). Rebounds: MA 34 (Velasquez 13), P 60 (Flores 13). Total Fouls: MA 22, P 11. Fouled Out: MA Kirjan-Kazhe, Velasquez. Technical Fouls: None.

CLASS 4A GIRLS final (click here for bracket)

The Los Lunas Lady Tigers celebrates as they win the 4A basketball championship in the state tournament.

Los Lunas guard Natalie Jojola got some pretty good advice from her coach Marty Zeller about shooting from outside.

“All I have to do is go the rim and look at the little loops,” she said. “Coach told me look at the loops because the depth perception in the Pit is way different than in high school so it all turned out well.”

Well indeed as Jojola hit all four of her shots – all 3-pointers –to help the second-seeded Tigers win the Class 4A state basketball championship 49-43 over No. 1 Kirtland Central. It was the Tigers second straight championship in their class and they finished with a 24-game winning streak.

“It all started from warm-ups,” she said. “Once I started hitting my 3s, I was like, ‘It’s going to be a good game.'”

Los Lunas (28-3), which lost to the Broncos (27-4) at home in December, played lockdown defense, stymieing Kirtland Central from the outside. The Broncos were 4-18 on 3-pointers, compared to the Tigers, who were 7-13 as Mia Guest hit three as part of her 15 points.

“I thought we got some open looks that we didn’t knock down,” Kirtland Central coach Devon Manning said. “But again, Los Lunas was very quick in getting out on us and that kind of rushed us.”

That was the game plan, Zeller said.

“The game plan wasn’t to let them shoot, nothing easy anyway,” he said. “Make them shoot off the dribble and make them create. We definitely wanted to keep it away from (Tatelyn Manheimer) and we did a pretty good job.”

Manheimer, who had 29 points in the previous two games, finished with three on 1-7 shooting. Aubrey Thomas was the leading Broncos scorer with nine points.

“Our girls know how to identify,” Zeller said. “We work on knowing how to identify shooters and penetrators extremely hard. And it paid off.”

With the outside game shut down, the Broncos had to find another way to pick up baskets.

“We picked the wrong game to not have a good shooting game,” Manning said. “With as bad as we shot, we were still in it. It just came down to we just couldn’t make enough plays. People are going to look back at the fourth quarter, but we missed a lot of easy looks in the first half. Give Los Lunas a lot of credit. They made us work and I thought we made them work too.”

The first half was a tight affair with eight lead changes. But Jojola hit a 3-pointer midway through the second quarter to spark a 10-3 run that also feature a 3 from Guest, sending the Tigers into halftime winning 25-20.

And early in the third quarter, Los Lunas used an 8-0 run to build the game’s largest lead at 33-22.

“When you come down to it, they made just a few more plays than we did,” Manning said. “I thought we were pretty evenly matched. We let them get away from us a little bit and we could just never narrow that gap.”

This was the Tigers’ third straight trip to the championship game, but this one was rather unlikely, Zeller admitted.

“This team is so, so different than the last two seasons,” he said. “The last two seasons, we had a team that walked on the floor that looked like basketball players. We were 5-8 across. Now we have our shorties again. Very much like our 2015 team.”

That meant junking the zone and unleashing seniors Marissa Weldon, Jaci Aragon and Jaidyn Schollander as defensive pests.

“We had a find a way,” Zeller said. “It took us those three losses at the beginning of the year to find our strength. And a zone wasn’t so much it. These girls just get after it.”


Los Lunas (28-3): Jaci Aragon 0-1 0-0 0; Marissa Weldon 1-2 2-5 4; Dani Ross 2-4 0-1 4 ; Mia Guest 5-9 2-2 15; Jaidyn Schollander 3-4 1-3 7; Kylee Trujillo 0-0 3-4 3; Natalie Jojola 4-4 0-0 12; Feleena Gabaldon 2-4 0-2 4. Totals: 17-28 8-17 49

Kirtand Central (27-4): Aisha Ramone 1-7 1-2 4; Monique Shim 0-1 0-0 0; Melanie Yazzie 1-1 2-2 4; Aubrey Thomas 4-7 0-0 9; Siigrid Lii’bilnaghahi 3-4 1-2 7; Tatelyn Manheimer 1-7 0-0 3; Avery Begay 2-6;1-2 5 Jaymie Smart 2-3 0-0 5; Tiajhae Nez 2-6 2-2 6. Totals: 16-42 7-10 43

Los Lunas            10      15      13      11 — 49

Kirtland Central   12      8        8        15 — 43

3-point FGs: LL (7-13) Joola 4-4, Guest 3-7, Aragon 0-1, Ross 0-1); KC 4-18 (Thomas 1-1, Smart 1-1, Ramone 1-4, Manheimer 1-7, Nez 0-3, Begay 0-2) Rebounds: LL 25 (Jojola 5); KC 24 (Lii’bilnaghahi 6). Assists: LL 12 (Weldon 5); KC 8 (Ramone 2, Manheimer 2, Begay 2, Nez 2). Turnovers: LL 22; KC 19. Total fouls: LL 9; KC 19. Fouled out: None





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