It took Ralph Tasker more than 50 years to earn his 12 high school state basketball championships at Hobbs.Hope Christian’s Jim Murphy collected his state record 13th blue trophy on Saturday with a 69-57 victory over West Las Vegas behind 16 points and nine rebounds from Jordan Leake in the Class 4A boys title game at the Pit. And it only took him 31 years.It was the Huskies’ third straight blue trophy and sixth in the last seven years.
“We appreciate all the success we’ve had at Hope, but maybe sometimes coaches get overrated with all the credit coaches get,” Murphy said. “We get a lot of the blame when we don’t win. I’ll give the credit to those guys (players). It’s a nice achievement, I think. You guys have made it a big deal. I’ve tried to not make it as big a deal.”
The team had been on something of a mission all season to earn Murphy several milestones, gathering win No. 700 earlier in the year, then capping it with the record championship.
“All of us seniors, this is the way we wanted to go out,” said forward Dedrick Milford. “And we did it.”
It was not easy, however, as the Dons (23-6) hung around until the closing moments before forced to foul and take quick, hurried shots in the final minute.
“Sometimes it was like climbing uphill all day,” said West Las Vegas coach David Bustos, who team was seeking its first state championship. “I’m very proud of the kids for fighting back. They’d get down, they’d come back. They’d get down, they’d come back. They just kind of ran out of time.”
Although the Huskies (27-4) were comfortably ahead from the first quarter on, they never really pulled away, either.
“I want to give West Las Vegas a lot of credit,” Murphy said. “They’re a great team and they match us in a lot of ways. They have a lot of good scorers in their first five but our team is pretty deep. We have different guys who have led us. It’s been a team effort all year.”
That certainly was the story Saturday as Dedrick Milford added 14 points and 12 rebounds, Alex Bellinger had 13 points, Ben Kocurek added 12 points and Marcus Medina had 11 points and five assists.
“If you look at it, they cause matchup problems for us everywhere,” Bustos said. “They did take us into the post a little bit. They isolated us on the block. They jumped over us a couple of times. They hit their shots. They hit some big shots when they needed to. It was just frustrating at times when you see that kind of disadvantage in height at every position. And that’s what makes them so tough to beat. They have a total package there. Depth, good guards that are aggressive, they play well together. So that’s why it’s tough to beat them.”
Still, after a bucket and foul shot from Miguel Sena, who finished with 15 points for the Dons, WLV trailed 53-48 with 5:37 to go in the game.
But Hope re-established their advantage with an 8-2 run.
Then it became a matter of hitting foul shots down the stretch, in which the Huskies did not excel, going 8-of-18 over the final two minutes.
“We were pretty nervous,” Milford said. “But we made enough to win so that was good.”
D.J. Bustos, the Dons coach’s son, finished with 16 points and seven rebounds, but he said every possession was a struggle.
“We couldn’t make a shot,” he said. “We were getting good looks, layups, missed layups, missed 3-point shots. Open shots that we usually make. It’s a big stage and we didn’t convert.”
No. 1 HOPE CHRISTIAN 69, No. 2 WEST LAS VEGAS 57
West Las Vegas (23-6): Miguel Sena 6-8 1-1 15, Terrence Baca 0-0 0-0 0,Adrian Valdez 1-4, 0-2 3, Nick Gurule 2-5 0-0 5, D.J. Bustos 4-13 7-7 16, Isaiah Gallegos 0-0 0-0 0, Sam Martinez 0-0 0-2 0, Anthony Medina 0-0 0-0 0, Jordan Martinez 0-1 0-0 0, Tino Castellano 4-12 0-2 8, Andres Gallegos 2-6 0-0 5, José Juan Montaño 2-4 1-3 5. Totals 21-53 9-17 57.
Hope Christian (27-4): Alex Bellinger 4-6 5-7 13, Marcus Medina 3-4 5-7 11, Jordan Leake 4-13 8-12 16, Caleb Meyer-Hagen 1-3 0-0 2, Cole Yearout 0-1 1-2 1, Marques Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Dedrick Milford 4-11 4-6 14, Harley Yearout 0-1 0-0 0, Ben Kocurek 5-7 1-1 12, John Bolkema 0-0 0-0 0, Cole Brown 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 21-49 24-35.
West Las Vegas 9 17 14 17—57
Hope Christian 13 24 10 22—69
3-point FGs: WLV 6-20 (Sena 2-2, Valdez 1-4, Gurule 1-2, Bustos 1-4, Martinez 0-1, Castellano 0-3, Gallegos 1-4); HC 3-11 (Medina 0-1, C. Yearout 0-1, Milford 2-7, Kocurek 1-2). Rebounds: WLV 35 (Bustos 7); HC 44 (Milford 12). Assists: WLV 9 (Castellano 4); HC 11(Medina 5). Total fouls: WLV 26; HC 19. Fouled out: WLV, Sena, Gurule, Bustos.