Tiger boys win twice with football players on board

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In its first week with the addition of football players, the Los Lunas boys basketball team had to make some adjustments this week.

In an odd week, at least as far as tweaking the lineup and facing two radically different opponents, the Tigers ended up with a pair of wins at home. Los Lunas ran over the Santa Fe Indian School Braves on Tuesday, 63-39. However, on Thursday, the Tigers faced a much tougher challenge in 5A Rio Grande, whom they outlasted, 70-59.

Jason W. Brooks-News-Bulletin photo: Quentin Mullins of Los Lunas shoots over Todd Torivio of Santa Fe Indian School in Tuesday’s home game, won by LLHS, 63-39. The Tigers also beat Rio Grande on Thursday by a 70-59 score, and are idle until a Saturday, Dec. 22, game at Alamogordo.

The Tigers got Jacob Holland and Chad Murphy activated for last Saturday’s game, and Chris Sanchez made his debut Tuesday. All three played significant minutes this week.

“We’re still trying to figure a few things out,” said LLHS coach Travis Julian. “Fortunately, we not only have some guys that are basically in good shape, but they played with us over the summer. That is we encourage kids to come out for the summer program.”

The Tigers are idle until a Saturday, Dec. 22, trip to Alamogordo. The varsity game is set for about 2:30 p.m.

Los Lunas 63, S.F. Indian 39

In Tuesday’s contest, the host Tigers jumped out to an early lead with strong perimeter defense, dominant rebounding and attacking the basket an offense.

Even the Tigers missed plenty of easy, short-range shots, the Tigers had enough opportunities to build a double-digit lead by the final minutes of the second quarter.

Los Lunas led by as many as 27 points late in the game against the undersized Braves (1-6).

“We’re trying to look for the best shots,” said Julian. “If we only pass once or twice on possessions, we might get away with that for a while, but it will catch up with us.”

Los Lunas took advantage of gaps in the Braves’ defense, driving to the basket against the smaller SFIS lineup. Dakota Eward made the only 3-pointer among the Tigers’ 26 field goals.

The Tigers were led by Ben Romero’s 21 points. Quentin Mullins had 14 points, and Sanchez had 13 off the bench in his season debut.

Los Lunas didn’t shoot free throws particular well, going 8-for-17. However, the Braves were even worse, as the Tigers’ 31 fouls put SFIS on the line 38 times, but the visitors only made 20 of those shots.

Darrick Phillips led the Braves with 10 points. Santa Fe Indian only made five shots from the field in the game, and three of those were 3-pointers.

Los Lunas 70, Rio Grande 59

The host Class 4A Tigers were able to get their most hard-earned home win of the early part of the season, and did it by beating a 5A team that had lost 105-82 Tuesday at La Cueva.

After being tied 28-28 at halftime, the Tigers surged in the second half, on both offense and defense, and pulled away, scoring 26 points in the fourth quarter.

Romero and Holland each scored 14 points, with Sanchez, Mullins and Eward all scoring 13.

“That’s a really good balanced scoring,” said Julian. “And we did it without just getting a lead of a few points, and then holding on. We kept attacking.”

Juwan Brooks led the Ravens (2-4) with 20 points. The Ravens’ best scorer, Mike Torrez, had 19 points, but no 3-pointers.

“We got Torrez in some foul trouble in the first half, and he had to sit,” said Julian. “They weren’t the same team without him. And in the second half, we face-guarded him.”

Julian credited a number of Tigers for playing strong defense against Torrez, as the coach rotated defenders on the Raven senior, so as not to wear out any one defender.

The coach said the attendance at the game was “good, but the student section is not quite like it needs to be.”

Sanchez, along with the Ravens’ Brooks and Luis Hernandez, all received technical fouls in the heated contest. Rio Grande was whistled for eight more fouls than the Tigers; the Ravens made 14-of-16 free throws, while Los Lunas was 17-of-22.


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