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Class 3A boys: Hopes, St. Mike’s win semifinals

Ron Geyer has seen this all before, as in too-close and way-too-personal. And he hasn’t exactly been enthralled by the view.
Geyer’s St. Michael’s boys basketball team will meet district rival Hope Christian in the Class 3A state championship game today at 10 a.m. at the Pit.
The Horsemen (23-7) advanced Friday by beating Lovington (16-15) 54-44 and the Huskies (26-3) moved on by eliminating West Las Vegas (19-9) 83-54.
It sets up a rematch of last year’s title game that the Huskies won handily 42-29, and it’s the third straight season the teams have clashed on the season’s final day with the blue trophy at stake.
Hope has won five straight games in the series dating back to last season, and this year the Huskies have outscored St. Mike’s by 59 points in three games.
The Huskies, who are trying to win a ring for coach Jim Murphy for the 12th time, have no illusions about what’s ahead of them.
“The expectations this year are high and that makes it tough,” said Murphy, who would tie legendary Hobbs coach Ralph Tasker for titles with a victory. “We know we have the target on our back.”
It’s a target pretty much the size of the state. Hope has won four of the last five years. Yet that isn’t in any way deterring the Horsemens’ hopes.
“They’re a good team, but you can’t fear teams,” said St. Mike’s post Justin Flores, who had 13 points and 13 rebounds against Lovington.
“You have to respect your opponent but you can’t fear them. Once it comes to down time, five men on the court, it doesn’t matter the ages, it just comes down to basketball, execution and who wants it more.”
Murphy expects Geyer will have a few tricky cards to play even though the two opponents know each other so well.
“We know St. Mike’s pretty well,” Murphy said. “They know us pretty well. We know their strengths are going to be controlling the ball. Controlling the tempo a little bit. We’ve played them three times. We’ve tried to mix it up a little bit and I’m sure (today) is going to be the same thing.
“It’s still basketball, but coach Geyer and St. Mike’s is a very strong team. Hopefully we’ll exploit what they want to do to us, and I’m sure he’s working on a game plan for us too.”
The Huskies know they can’t fall into the trap of getting complacent.
“It’s always fun to play them, I think,” said Hope guard Brandon Zabala, who finished with 24 points against West Las Vegas. “I guess I would have preferred to play someone else. But we’ll definitely be ready for them again.”
Geyer knows his squad has a tall task ahead.
“We’ve played them match-up zone,” he said. “We’ve playee them man-to-man. We’ve pressed them some. And we’ve tried to limit possessions by not really stalling or anything like that but working for a real quality shot. And, you’ve got to do all of the above. You’ve got to mix all of your defenses. Your bench has to play well. The thing that they’ve hurt us the most is with penetration and rebounding.”
Hope wing Jordan Leake said the Huskies just need to worry about their own game. “We’ve beat them pretty good all three times but we know it’s the championship game and anything can happen,” he said. “So we just have to come ready to play. We’ve got to run, we’ve got to keep them from slowing the game down as much as possible.”

 

No. 1 Hope Christian 83, West Las Vegas 54: At the Pit, the Huskies
(26-3) ran away from the Dons (19-9) in the third quarter behind seven
points from Brandon Zabala, who finished with a game-high 24.
After leading 38-34 at halftime, Hope outscored West Las Vegas 26-7 in
the third quarter as the Huskies’ depth proved too much to overcome.
Although Zabala was the only Huskie in doubles figures 11 other players
reached the scorebook.
Andres Gallegos and D.J. Bustos each scored 17 to lead the Dons.
WEST LAS VEGAS (19-9) 54
Miguel Sena 0-2 0-0 0, Mike Ortiz 0-3 0-0 0, Cody Najar 4-12 5-6 14,
Adrian Valdez 0-1 0-0 0, D.J. Bustos 4-8 8-11 17, Sebastian Bustos 1-2
0-0 2, Victor Ulibarri 0-1 0-0 0, Martin Castellano 0-5 2-2 2, Anthony
Medina 1-1 0-0 2, Andres Gallegos 7-12 2-2 17, J.J. Montaño 0-0 0-0 0.
Totals 17-47 17-21 54.
HOPE CHRISTIAN (26-3) 83
Brandon Zabala 9-15 3-4 24, Luke Dye 3-6 0-0 7, Jordan Leake 4-10 1-3
9, Zac Williams 2-10 0-1 4, Geoff Schermerhorn 0-0 6-8 6, Cole Brown
1-1 0-0 2, Marques Johnson 2-3, 2-2 6, Dedrick Milford 3-10 0-1 9, Ben
Kocurek 1-1, 0-0 2, Ben Spangler 1-2, 1-1 3, Chris Roland 2-5 2-2 6,
Austen Drake 2-4 1-3 5, Luke Schlenker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-67 16-25 83.
West Las Vegas        16        18        7        13—54
Hope Christian        22        16        26        19—83
3-point goals: WLV 3-19 (D.J. Bustos 1-4, Gallegos 1-5, Najar 1-5, Castellano 0-2, Valdez 0-1), HC 7-13 (Zabala 3-3, Milford 3-6, Dye 1-2, Leake 0-1, Williams 0-1). Rebounds: WLV 33 (Gallegos 9), HC 47 (Drake 8). Assists: WLV 10 (Castellano 4), HC 10 (Zabala 4). Turnovers: West Las Vegas 21, Hope Christian
16. Total fouls: WLV 20, HC 16. Fouled out: None. Technical: WLV, Ulibarri; HC Schemerhorn.

 

No. 2 St. Michael’s 54, Lovington 44: At the Pit, Justin Flores hit the
baker’s dozen with 13 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Horsemen into
the State Championship game for the third straight game.
Flores and fellow post player Isaiah Dominguez, who had 10 points,
helped neutralize Lovington 6-foot, 8-inch big man Stephen Lennox, who
still finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
St. Mike’s (23-7) took control at the end of the third quarter,
stretching an 11-0 run into the fourth quarter to go up 38-25.
Drew Homer kept the Wildcats (16-15) close in the fourth quarter with
two 3-pointers but the Horsemen hit six straight free throws to close
out the game.
— Glen Rosales

LOVINGTON (16-15) 44
Nik Mann 1-3 0-0 2, Gilbert Gomez 0-0 0-0 0, Joanus Rueda 1-9 2-2 4, Sebastian Sanchez 0-1 0-0 0-0, Drew Homer 3-10 2-4 11, Stephen Lennox 7-12 0-0 15, Jared Wilks 2-4 0-0 4, Quantel Nash 3-11 0-1 8. Totals 17-50 5-9 44.
ST. MICHAEL’S (23-7) 54
Marcus Pincheira-Sandoval 4-11 4-5 15, Andrew Griego 0-4 0-2 0, Joey Najjar 0-0 0-0 0, Chris Lovato 2-4 0-0 6, Bradley Vaughn 3-7 4-5 10, Justin Flores 4-13 5-6 13, Luke Archuleta 0-0 0-0 0, Isaiah Dominguez 4-9 2-3 54. Totals 17-48 15-21 54.
Lovington    11    6    8    19—44
St. Michael’s    12    9    14    19—54
3-point goals: L 5-25 (Homer 3-7, Nash 2-7, Rueda 0-7, Lennox 0-2, Wilks 0-1, Mann 0-1), SM (Pincheira-Sandoval 3-10, Lovato 2-2, Griego 0-1, Dominguez 0-1). Fouled out: L, Homer, Nash. Rebounds: L 31 (Lennox 10), SM 43 (Flores 13). Assists: L 10 (Nash 4, Rueda 4), St. Michael’s 9 (Pincheira-Sandoval 2, Griego 2, Vaughn 2). Turnovers: L 9, SM 10. Total fouls: L 21, SM 17.

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