RIO RANCHO — Although the Hope Christian offense turned in a splashy effort, it was a defensive adjustment that had just as big an impact in helping the top-seeded Huskies beat No. 9 Lovington 80-45.
Wildcats guard Quantel Nash scored 14 straight points in the second quarter before Hope coach Jim Murphy changed the defensive alignment at halftime.
He gave Zac Garcia responsibility for shadowing Nash all over the court.
And it court as Nash finished with just two second-half points after 17 in the first half.
“We kind of adjusted at halftime and Zac Garcia did a good job on Nash,” Murphy said.
Offensively, Hope (18-11) got 26 points from Tommy Riley and a double-double from Austin Drake with 11 points and 10 rebounds – half of those on the offensive end.
“Tommy really started banging to the boards and got a lot of put backs,” Murphy said. “Then we were able to spread the floor and run our offense and that put them on the ropes.”
But Riley was happier with the way the defense played.
“Coach always preaches that it’s all about defense,” he said. “Defense is what wins championships.”
The Wildcats (11-20) trailed just 46-38 as Jacob Mughni stepped up for a free throw after hitting a bucket and getting fouled with 3:24 left in the third quarter.
Hope then outscored Lovington 8-2 to end the quarter and after the Wildcats opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer, Hope scored the next 20 points.
“We really started playing as a team,” said Micah Murphy, the coach’s son. “Everybody stepped up and pushed it and got everybody else involved. We were trying to work for each other.”
Lovington was without the services of 6-foot, 5-inch post Stephen Lennox, who was missing because of disciplinary reasons. That hamstrung the Wildcats underneath, helping the Huskies to a 38-21 rebounding advantage.
And with Nash neutralized, Lovington had few remaining options.
But Lovington coach Chris Brattain took responsibility for the loss.
“We had some defensive breakdowns,” he said. “But I have to do a better job of coaching. I have to have the players in the right spots at all times.”
No. 1 HOPE CHRISTIAN 80, No. 9 LOVINGTON 45
LOVINGTON (11-19): Shadeau Bartrum 6, Jason Hare 7, Andrew Homer 4, Quantel Nash 19, Joanus Rudea 2, Nik Mann 1, Jacob Mughni 6. Totals 13-39 14-23 45.
HOPE CHRISTIAN (17-11): Tommy Riley 26, Micah Murphy 6, Zac Garcia 10, Brandon Zabala 2, Austin Drake 11, Zach Williams 2, Geoff Schermerhorn 2, Ben Spangler 7, Ben Kocurek 1, Cole Brown 2, Dedrick Milford 11. Totals 27-55 23-28 80.
Lovington 10 17 13 5 — 45
Hope Christian 14 19 23 34 — 80
3-point goals: L 5 (Bartrum 2, Nash 2, Hare); HC 3 (Garcia 2, Milford). Total fouls: L 25; HC 20. Fouled out: L, Hare, Homer. Rebounds: L 21 (Bartrum 4, Hare 4, Homer 4); HC 38 (Drake 10). Assists: L 2 (Hare, Homer); HC 11 (Murphy 5). Turnovers: L 18; HC 9.
ST. MICHAEL’S 49, SILVER 37:
The defending 3A state champion St. Michael’s Horsemen will keep their hopes alive for another titile as they survived a close game against the Silver Fighting Colts in their quarterfinal contest. The Horsemen (18-11) kept the Colts (20-7) to 11 points in the second half to seal the 49-37 victory.
The Colts went into the locker room at halftime with a 26-22 lead. They would keep that lead until halfway through the third quarter when the Horsemen went on a 10-3 run.
“At times we dug ourselves a hole, and then came back,” St. Michael’s coach Ron Geyer said. “Once we got the lead our energy picked up and they weren’t able to spread it like they were earlier in the game.
Silver coach Brandon Siqueiros said the Horsemen were able to take control of the game because they were able to force his offense to speed up.
“It was more about us not being as patient as we were in the first half,” Siqueiros said. “We needed to be more patient offensively in the second half to wear their defense. We had a couple of turnovers and I think we sped up to get back to where we were.”
Silver shot 57.9 percent from the field in the first half, but shot only 22.2 percent in the second half.
“Once they were forced to run more offense and not their spread we were able to cover better and force them into bad shots,” Geyer said.
On the flip side, St. Michael’s shot 36.8 percent from the field in the first half and was able to shoot 60 percent in the second half.
Horsemen junior Justin Flores was a perfect 7-for-7 from the field for 14 points. He never realized he didn’t miss a shot.
“I just come into the game, play my best, try my hardest and just try to focus,” Flores said. “I didn’t even know I was 7-for-7.”
Silver senior Michael Arsola had a team-high 14 points for the Colts.
ST. MICHAEL’S 49 SILVER 37
Gabe Morales 10, Derek Salas 7, Michael Arsola 14, Jovanni Saavadra 6. Totals 15-37 4-7 37ST. MICHAEL’S (18-11):
Jeff Groenewold 8, Kameron Romero 8, Daniel Ortega 11, Salomon Martinez 2, Justin Flores 14, Corey Serna 3, Chris Lovato 1, Isaiah Dominguez 2 Totals 19-39 9-15 49Silver 15 11 7 4 – 37
St. Michael’s 7 15 16 11 – 493-point goals:
S 3 (Morales, Salas, Arsola); SM 2 (Romero, Serna). Total fouls:
S 15; SM 7. Rebounds:
S 23 (Salas 10); SM 20 (Groenewold, Flores 4) Assists:
S 7 (Carrillo 3); SM 7 (Ortega 4). Turnovers:
S 9; SM 7
No. 4 SHIPROCK 52, No. 5 PORTALES 41
RIO RANCHO – Justin Begay scored 20 points for the No. 4 Shiprock, which ended the game on a 15-2 run Wednesday to help the Chieftains beat No. 5 Portales 52-41.
“Coach always tells me to go to the basket because there’s a high percentage when you’re shooting close to the basket,” Begay said in explaining his success.
It certainly worked to the benefit of Shiprock (24-5), who also got nine rebounds and eight points from Patdric(CQ) Toehe.
“He’s a beast on the boards,” Begay said of Toehe.
Emilio Baca finished with 11 points and eight rebounds for the Rams (18-11).
Entering the final quarter, Shiprock held a 37-36 lead.
Baca put Portales up 38-37 with six minutes to go, but the Rams would not score again for 4 ½ minutes.
“You live for those last four minutes,” said Shiprock coach Chester Atcitty Jr. “That’s what I tell the boys. Take care of the ball. It’s pressure. It’s your lifeline to advance.”
As the run built, the crowd’s intensity grew as well.
“We were starting to make our shots and the crowd was really getting into it too,” Begay said. “And that really helped us because we feed off their energy. We play hard defense. We shoot the ball better. We’re able to pass the ball better. We’re able to run harder.”
And the Rams could not keep pace, especially after Shiprock changed its defense.
“When we went back in there at halftime, we said, ‘We have to go man. We have to go full-court man as much as possible,’” Atcitty said. “They scouted us. They were ready for us. They knew what we were going to run. They showed that the first half so we had to resort to a different style of pressure.”
Shiprock created 13 turnovers in the second half after just three in the first half, but Portales coach Rickie McBroom said what really hurt was the Rams’ inability to keep the Chieftains off the offensive glass, where Shiprock had a 14-7 advantage.
“We just get the rebounds,” he said. “They would miss the shot then get the rebound. If we get those rebounds, we could have been in the game.”
No. 4 SHIPROCK 52 No. 5 PORTALES 41
PORTALES (18-11): Jarret Faust 6, Zachary Blaeser 7, Daniel Sanchez 4, Emilio Baca 11, Matt Martinez 2, Zachary Campbell 2, Nathan Chavez 9. Totals 12-35 13-16 41.
SHIPROCK (24-5): Kevin Aspaas 9, Hiram Gleason 5, Justin Begay 20, Dominique Todacheeni 4, Patdric Toehe 8, Deron Johnson 4, Darryle Nelson 2. Totals 21-56 7-10 52.
Portales 12 18 6 5 — 41
Shiprock 13 16 8 15 — 52
3-point goals: P 4 (Chavez 3, Blaeser); S 3 (Toehe 2, Begay). Total fouls: P 15; S 15. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: P 28 (Baca 8); S 31 (Toehe 9). Assists: P 6 (Martinez 2); S 9 (Gleason 4). Turnovers: P 16; S 10.