ESPAÃ’OLA VALLEY 47, PECOS 45, 2OT: For the Class 2A Pecos girls, taking on bigger schools is always a challenge it is willing to accept.
Even against strong, 4A teams like Española Valley.
And the Panthers went tooth and nail and then some against the Sundevils, recovering from a 10-point third-quarter deficit to go to overtime, then a second overtime before finally succumbing in the semifinals of the St. Michael’s Christmas Tournament.
“It was a really good game,” Pecos coach Bryan Gonzales said of what was the second game of the day for both squads. “They played hard both games. I wasn’t too concerned. They were spent by the second overtime, both teams were. It didn’t look like the game (Friday) morning had any affect because both teams played really well.”
Trinity Herrera scored 25 points to lead the Panthers (8-2), but it wasn’t quite enough.
“We didn’t have the first half that we would have liked,” Gonzales said. “We came out a little off on offense and on defense.”
And falling behind in the third quarter, the defense really picked it up, allowing Pecos to climb back into the game.
The Panthers actually had the lead in the fourth quarter, but the Sundevils (7-4) scored a late bucket to force overtime. Pecos had a chance to win at the end of the first regulation, but couldn’t get a shot to drop.
“What it does for us and what I explained to the girls is one thing that I’m OK with is that they learned a lot and they grew from this game,” Gonzales said. “Obviously, we don’t like to lose. But there are a lot of things we learned from it basketball-wise, character-wise and as a team.”
Some of the things the Panthers have been able to overcome against lesser squads proved costly against Española, which is an invaluable lesson, he said.
“One of the things we’ve been battling all season is unforced turnovers,” Gonzales said. “They saw (Friday) that turnovers at the wrong time will get you. And not hitting free throws sometimes is a bugaboo for us. But they played hard the whole game and both overtimes, and they played as a team. So they were happy with that.”
LOS ALAMOS 54, SANTA FE 50: Natalie Gallegos scored 28 points to lead the Hilltoppers (4-6) to a victory over the Demons (4-5) in the consolation round of the St. Michael’s Tournament.
PECOS 52, LOS ALAMOS 39: The Panthers (8-1) played stifling defense, denying the Hilltoppers (3-6) from double digits in any quarter until the fourth in the opening round of the St. Michael’s Tournament.
Other girls scores: St. Michael’s 52, Raton 17; Sandia Prep 43, Taos 39; Española Valley 37, Santa Fe 30.
ST. PIUS 60, MORA 51: The Rangers (3-4) rallied in the third quarter to pull within 43-41 entering the fourth quarter, but the rally stalled against the Spartans in the consolation round of the Stu Clark Tournament in Las Vegas.
Other boys scores: Taos 75, Santa Rosa 49; Española Valley 62, Socorro 59.
SANTA FE 70, SOCORRO (EL PASO) 48: Fedonta “J.B.” White and Eddie Franco each scored 18 points as part of a balanced scoring attack that saw five Demons (9-1) reach double digits against the Bulldogs in the opening round of the Jalen Berger Holiday Classic in Rio Rancho.
HIGHLAND 66, ESPAÃ’OLA VALLEY 48: Jordan Duda scored 21 points and Garrett May added 10 for the Sundevils (7-4), but it wasn’t enough to stave off the Hornets in the opening round of the Berger Tournament.
BERNALILLO 52, TAOS 49: For the second time in 10 days, the Spartans had just enough to outlast the Tigers (5-3), this time in the opening round of the Stu Clark Tournament. Abdul Khweis scored 23 points and Ayden Madrid added 12, but it came to Edgar Valera’s 3-pointer at the buzzer, that was just off.
PECOS 69, ST. PIUS 44: Ismael Villegas had 21 points and went 9-9 from the foul line to lead the Panthers (7-1) to a win in the opening round of the Stu Clark Tournament.
Other boys scores: Robertson 61, Santa Rosa 44; Los Alamos 64, Fort Sumner 61; West Las Vegas 65, Mora 54.
CORONADO 40, McCURDY 34: Devyn Cordova and Emma Lovato each scored eight for the Bobcats (3-5), but they could not recover from a rough second quarter when the Leopards enjoyed a 15-3 advantage.
Other girls scores: Socorro 53, Robertson 41
McCURDY 45, CORONADO 44: The Leopards traded off winning quarters and the visiting Bobcats (3-6) got just enough in the first and third quarters to hold off the Leopards’ late run.
Los Alamos boys track and field, and cross-country coach Steven Montoya was named Class 4A Coach of the Year in both track and cross-country by the New Mexico Track and Cross Country Coaches Association. He is the only coach in the state to earn both honors this year.
Michael Phillips of the Los Alamos Golf Course and Daniel Shea from the Angel Fire Golf Club, have been named among the Top 50 Kids Coaches golf pros. “This is the highest distinction for youth coaches,” U.S. Kids Golf founder Dan Van Horn said. “These are the professionals that have dedicated a career to youth golf and families, and truly embody the spirit of the U.S. Kids Golf mission.” Phillips and Shea were among pros from 25 states and seven countries to be recognized.
THINGS TO SEE OR DO
BASKETBALL: Two of the leading Class 5A contenders square off Saturday (Jan. 4) when Cleveland visits Capital at 7 p.m. The Jaguars (8-1) will be coming off a two-week break to meet the Storm.
MORE HOOPS: Santa Fe Indian School will welcome Mora among other teams from around the state for the annual Lady Braves Tournament Jan. 9-11.