Albuquerque Academy used a big third quarter to pull away for a 72-60 boys basketball victory over Valley on the Vikings’ home court on Friday night.
The Chargers (18-3, 5-0 6-4A) improved to 2-0 against Valley with its second double-digit win over the Vikings (11-11, 2-3) and moved another step closer to securing their second consecutive District 6-4A title in the process.
“The kids know you can’t get too high or too low,” Academy coach Marcos CdeBaca said.
“We’re not gonna celebrate this. We’ve got three more district games.”
The Chargers nearly put the Vikings away in the opening quarter as it took a 26-6 lead behind a combined 20 points from Kellan Gehres and Dillon McCleskey.
Valley clawed its way back thanks to a 10-0 run to open the second quarter. After holding Academy to just five points in the period, the Vikings remained within striking distance, down 31-20 at halftime.
“They came out with a 3-2 zone,” CdeBaca said. “We drew up some plays for the 3-2 zone and then we hit some shots, so they had to come out of that 3-2 and get us in man.”
Ultimately, Academy had too much perimeter shooting for Valley, as the Chargers held an 11-0 advantage in 3-pointers for the game. That was especially critical in the third quarter, when Academy hit five 3s in the first half of the stanza to extend its lead to 23. The Chargers would lead by as many as 27 before the Vikings rallied in the fourth to make the margin more respectable. The game wasn’t as close as the final score indicated, however.
“We focus on coming out and throwing that first punch,” CdeBaca said of the third-quarter run.
“We play some good coaches in our district. They make adjustments. So the second quarter we only got five points. I’ve got a great coaching staff. We made adjustments at halftime and you saw what happened in that third quarter.”
Gehres led Academy with a game-high 26 points. McCleskey added 14, while Joe Jack and Justin Mask chipped 11 apiece for the Chargers. Tyler Kozlowski led Valley with 18 points.
“We’re just a good shooting team and we just stayed patient,” CdeBaca said. “The shots will fall. We’ve got a lot of good shooters.”
ACADEMY 72, VALLEY 60
ACADEMY (18-3): Kellan Gehres 26, Dillon McCleskey 14, Garrett Garcia 2, Sam James 2, Joe Jack 11, Cole Conway 2, Justin Mask 11, Andres Rivera 4. 24-FG 10-14-FT 72.
VALLEY (11-11): Elijah Montoya 9, Luciano Mondragon 8, Julian Chavez 16, Tyler Kozlowski 18, Carter Monroe 2, Charles Lopez-Burton 3, Rosendo Roybal 2, Neel Patel 2. 21-FG 18-27-FT 60.
Academy 26 5 30 11—72
Valley 6 14 14 26—60
3-point goals: AA 10 (Gehres 3, McClesky 4, Jack, Mask 2); V 0. Total Fouls: AA 21; V 15.