After playing in high school gyms in the quarterfinals, the winners advanced to Thursday’s semifinals at the Santa Ana Star Center. And Thursday’s winners will play Saturday for the championship at the Pit.
Today’s other semifinalists are No. 1 Pecos and No. 3 Santa Rosa.
No.4 DULCE 94, No. 5 CUBA 76: Anfernee Callado scored a game-high 32 points to lead the Hawks (21-6) over the Rams (25-7) at Rio Rancho High School.
Dulce was clinging to a 48-45 lead entering the second half, only to erupt in the third quarter behind five 3-pointers to take a 76-56 lead into the fourth.
“A lot of times, our individuals players, they feed off their offense,” Hawks coach Shane Valdez said. “If they score, we get a little more hustle. We were moving the ball, we were getting good looks. We weren’t forcing the ball.”
Dulce will advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2002, when Callado’s father played for the team, Valdez said.
Turnovers were the bane of Cuba’s existence as the Rams totaled 27, with 21 of those on steals by the Hawks.
Both teams came out with plenty of energy, particularly in the second quarter, when they combined for 62 points.
“We had a little bit too much adrenaline early,” Valdez said. “Cuba is a good team. They made shots and that kept us off balance too.”
The Hawks flourished in the second half when center Tyrese Morgan, who sat most of the first half after picking up three early fouls, returned to the game. Morgan finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.
“We made some adjustments in our (defensive) rotation and they worked,” Valdez said.
Senior Koby Aragon led the Rams with 20 points.
— Chris Jackson
No. 4 DULCE 94, No. 5 CUBA 76
Juniors Carlos Cordova added 22 points and Josh DeHerrera chipped in 16 for Pecos.
The Panthers were only up 17-11 at the end of the first quarter before going on a 15-1 run to start the second quarter.
“It was a tough, physical game,” Pecos coach Ira Harge Jr. said. “It started off we weren’t getting rebounds, we weren’t defending like we normally do. Eunice hung in there with us, and they’re a very good team. It took us a little while to get going.”
Senior Brandyn Miller led Eunice with 11 points and eight rebounds.
— Chris JacksonNo. 1 PECOS 79, No. 8 EUNICE 42
EUNICE (15-13) Christian Larrea 2, Cameron Santa Cruz 6, Tari York 9, Brandyn Miller 11, Avante Stevens 4, Roy Ramos 0, Juan Sosa 2, Enrique Patron 0, Tayveon Mitchell 2, Michael Copeland 0, Jacob Mendoza 0, Bryce Steele 0, Brandon Buttery 6. Totals 17-FG 8-19-FT 42.
PECOS (27-1) Isaac Cde Baca 5, Carlos Cordova 22, Josh DeHerrera 16, Cameron Quintana 3, Mario Archuleta 28, Jacob Varela 0, Omar Dominguez 2, Xavier Padilla 1, Isaiah Valdez 0, Issac Gonzales 0, Anthony Armijo 2, Christian Anaya 0. Totals 26-FG 18-25-FT 79.
Eunice 11 8 10 13—42
Pecos 17 24 23 15—79
3-Point FG: E 0; P 9 (DeHerrera 4, Archuleta 3, Cordova, Quintana). Team Fouls: E 19, P 17. Fouled Out: E, Larrea.
No. 3 Santa Rosa 69, No. 11 Clayton 68 (OT): Joaquin Romo made a free throw with 6.7 seconds remaining as the Lions held off the Yellowjackets’ upset bid.
Clayton (13-15) had one final chance at victory, but an open 3 attempt by Anthony Gallagher rimmed out as time expired. Santa Rosa (20-8) just missed a chance to win at the end of regulation when Christian Chavez’s drive to the right side of the rim spun out at the buzzer.
Chavez earned redemption with the ball in his hands in the waning moments of overtime, as he found Romo with a pass near the basket, allowing his teammate to draw a foul to set up the decisive free throw.
The Lions saw all of a nine-point halftime lead disappear after Clayton began the third quarter with 10-0 run to take a 41-40 lead. Neither team led by more than six the rest of the way.
Joseph Esquibel hit three of his six 3-pointers in the fourth period and led Santa Rosa with 18 points. Kobe Leal topped Clayton with 21 points and 16 rebounds.
— Tristen Critchfield
NO. 3 SANTA ROSA 69, NO. 11 CLAYTON 68 (OT)
CLAYTON (13-15): Jacob Naranjo 14, Caleb Gonzalez 9, Brayden Walker 7, Kobie Montoya 12, Kobe Leal 21, Francisco Ortiz 5. 21-FG 20-31-FT 68.
SANTA ROSA (20-8): Christian Chavez 5, Enrique Bachicha 9, Joseph Esquibel 18, Javante Chavez 3, Cody Schattschneider 2, Stephen Sanchez 12, Luis Mefford 14, Joaquin Romo 6. 25-FG 8-16-FT 69.
Clayton 9 22 23 10 4—68
Santa Rosa 18 22 12 12 5—69
3-Point FG: C 6 (Naranjo 3, Gonzalez 2, Ortiz); S 11 (Chavez, Bachicha 2, Esquibel 6, Sanchez 2). Team Fouls: C 15; S 21. Fouled Out: C, Walker, Leal.