Foul trouble, Spartans' Saiz are too much for Tiger boys

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The second quarter seems to give the Tigers fits in the early going of the boys basketball campaign.

Bernalillo (3-0) hung 31 points on the Tigers in the second period to break open a close game and build a 44-32 halftime lead on Tuesday night. The Spartans held on to take a 79-76 win in a foul-marred contest that saw three players foul out.

Los Lunas (0-2) will travel to Las Cruces for a 2:30 game on Saturday to take on Centennial, a new school in its first year of varsity athletics.

The Hawks are 3-1 with wins over three Texas schools and a close 68-62 loss to Fabens, Texas, a 3A Region 1 playoff team from last season.

"We don't know a lot about them," said Tiger coach Travis Julian. "We saw them play last week and I guess that they have a couple of recruits from Mexico, believe it or not."

Most notable among those transfers is the Hawks' point guard and post player, accounting for a good portion of the team's offense.

The depth should get better for the Tigers next week as they will get six players who were a part of the LLHS football team's deep playoff run.

The earliest the Tigers could probably get up to full strength would be at Alamogordo on Dec. 22. Los Lunas is scheduled to hosts Santa Fe Indian on Tuesday and Rio Grande on Thursday. Both games are set for 7 p.m. tips.

The football players will be eligible to play after five basketball practices and include possible starters Chris Sanchez and Jacob Holland. Jalen Chavez, the speedy tailback for the Tiger football program, is also reportedly going to play basketball, as well.

Depth, and six 3-pointers from Bernalillo's leading scorer Brandon Saiz, made it hard for the Tigers to come back in the contest.

Saiz scored 42 points with six treys, and Tristian Arnett added 16 for the Spartans.

Bernalillo opened up the 12-point lead in the second quarter when Saiz hit a couple of treys and Los Lunas lost three key players to foul trouble. Ben Romero and Aaron Sias sat with three fouls, while Dakota Eward had four.

"Foul trouble hurt us again," said Julian. "So we were very short-handed. They jumped on that and forced turnovers."

Romero and Quentin Mullins provided a powerful inside-outside combination, with Romero scoring 32 points and Mullins adding 21.

Los Lunas trailed 60-50 going into the final quarter. Their 26 points in the final period was their best offensive output of the night.

In addition to Romero and Mullins, the Tigers got six points from Chris Bartlett; four points each from Sais and Emilio Gutierrez; and three apiece from Marcus Mendoza, Martin Mendoza and Eward.

Eward and Sais fouled out for Los Lunas, as part of 25 team fouls whistled against the Tigers. Bernalillo had 29 fouls and had Alan Rodriguez foul out.


-- Email the author at mstearns@news-bulletin.com.