BHS boys suffer road losses to 4A foes

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After a nine-day break, Belen was in position to upset highly-regarded Albuquerque Academy on its home floor.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Belen Junior Thomas Cordova works against Academy’s Bryan Jaramillo in the fourth quarter of the BHS loss Tuesday. Belen has three games in a five-day span, starting with a 2:30 p.m. visit Saturday to Santa Teresa.

But the Eagles blew a 10-point lead and fell 69-61 in a very disappointing loss to Academy (8-2).

Belen (4-6 ) followed the Academy loss with a 58-53 loss at Santa Fe (7-7) on Thursday night.

The Eagles travel to Santa Teresa for a 2:30 p.m. game on Saturday, host West Mesa on Tuesday and visit Bernalillo on Thursday to complete a five-game slate in just nine days.

“We have a big week, and a lot of games that we can regain that focus,” said coach Pat Mondragon.

Belen has played six of its 10 games on the road.

“We are proud of our kids for handling adversity and starting to come together,” said Mondragon. “We are just getting our legs going. We have to put four quarters together.”

Santa Fe High 58, Belen 53

For the second game in a row, Belen only had five players score, and a slow start doomed the Eagles.

Santa Fe owned a 16-6 lead after the first quarter and Belen never caught up. They closed the gap to within three late in the fourth quarter, but could not get closer.

“We just had a bad start. We beat them every quarter but the first,” said Mondragon. “We took a few bad shots and had some turnovers early. We had to foul at the end.”

The Eagles had a couple of bright performances in the close loss. Martin scored 21 points inside, while Lewis hit three treys and ended up with 16 points.

“Zach had a favorable match up, so we got the ball inside to him,” said Mondragon of his senior center. “They were beating up on Zach a little bit inside.”

The host Demons shot free throws poorly most of the game, but hit the ones it really needed. SFHS senior Elliot Nicholas went 10-for-11 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, but his team only went 13-of-20 in the game.

BHS point guard Dontae Vigil, battling an illness, played, but did not score.

Abq. Academy 69, Belen 61

It was all going Belen’s way with 3:52 left in the third quarter. The Eagles had the scoring and the momentum, and had the Chargers frustrated on their home court.

Leading 34-32, Nick Kurtz drove from the left side and twisted for a reverse lay-in. He was fouled, and Academy coach Roy Morgan leapt off the bench and received the first of two bench technical fouls for the night.

Kurtz hit the free throw, followed by Ray Montoya hitting the two technical shots. Belen intercepted the in-bounds pass and Kurtz buried a 3-pointer.

Just like that, Belen was up by 10 points, scoring eight without Academy ever getting the ball past half court.

But the Chargers scored the final 13 points of the quarter to put Academy back in the lead, 47-44.

The Chargers continued to dominate the stunned Eagles in the final quarter. Post Chris Martin scored eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to lead Academy to a 61-49 lead, completing a 27-5 run over a 10 minute span.

Another technical foul whistled against the Academy bench led to Montoya hitting two free throws to narrow the lead to 63-56.

Zach Martin’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 66-61 with 33 seconds left, but Academy sealed the game from the foul line.

Vigil led the Belen scoring with 18 points. Montoya had 18, as well, and Martin finished with 11. Colton Lewis scored eight and Kurtz had six, all coming in the third-quarter spurt that put Belen up by 10.

Academy had Bryan Jaramillo score 18 and Tommy Lindgren add 16, in addition to the Martin’s 20.

“We lost patience on the offensive end and stopped working on the defensive end,” said Mondragon. “We took it for granted that we were up by 10 points, and thought it was going to be over. We stopped doing the little things that got us there.”


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