Despite Baca-Torres’ efforts, Jaguar boys fall at 5A Mayfield

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Post player Josh Baca-Torres had his highest-scoring game of the season, but Valencia (3-11) didn’t go to the junior quick enough in a 60-51 loss at Mayfield (5-7) in Las Cruces on Saturday.

News-Bulletin file photo: Malach Jolley of Valencia shoots in traffic in a recent game. The Jaguars are set to host Centennial at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

Post player Josh Baca-Torres had his highest-scoring game of the season, but Valencia (3-11) didn’t go to the junior quick enough in a 60-51 loss at Mayfield (5-7) in Las Cruces on Saturday.

The Jaguars have the week off to work on a few things after the six-hour round trip to southern New Mexico. Valencia is scheduled to host Centennial (7-7) at about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“It doesn’t get any easier for us,” said coach Ezau Rios, noting that the new Las Cruces school will make the six-hour trip along Interstate 25. “Hopefully, that will help us.”

Against Class 5A Mayfield, Baca-Torres had 22 points, 15 rebounds and hit 8-of-9 from the free throw line.

“He had a monster game,” said Rios of his center.

The coach then noted that it was not until the second half that the Jags went inside against the Trojan defense.

Mayfield built a 20-8 lead in the first quarter on the strength of some hot shooting. Mayfield owned a 36-20 edge at the half.

“We were bad with the ball,” said Rios, noting that Valencia had eight first-quarter turnovers. “They played man-to-man, and we were anxious. And that was not against a lot of pressure.”

The second half was better as the Jags found a way to get the ball inside. When Baca wasn’t able to get a shot off, Josue Padilla (eight points) and Garrett Gibson (five points) were able to score inside.

“We made a couple of adjustments on defense and did a good job of getting the ball inside,” said Rios.

Valencia closed to within five points with three minutes remaining, but could not get any closer.

It was Gibson’s first game back since suffering a slight sprain in the Village of Los Lunas tournament.

“His ankle looked OK,” said Rios. “He will be fine.”


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