Tiger boys get road wins

........................................................................................................................................................................................

A lot seems to hinge upon how well the Los Lunas High boys basketball team works together.

The Tigers placed together well enough this week to get a pair of non-district road wins this week. Next week, we'll see if the Tigers (10-5) can play unselfishly enough to win in District 6-4A.

Los Lunas (10-5) opens district play with a 7 p.m. game Thursday at Belen.

Quentin Mullins' tip-in at the final buzzer gave the Tigers a 67-65 win Tuesday on the home court of a sharp-shooting Piedra Vista team in Farmington. The Tigers raced out to a huge early lead Thursday at Del Norte in Albuquerque, winning 67-47.

Los Lunas 67, Piedra Vista 65

In Farmington on Tuesday, Mullins' game-winning tip-in accounted for the last two of the senior's game-high 25 points, and his 15th rebound of the game.

Piedra Vista (9-9) led most of the second half, and was up 57-44 at the end of the third quarter. But the visiting Tigers rallied, outscoring the Panthers 23-8 in the final period, and actually led 65-62 in the final 30 seconds.

A hard Tiger foul and a pair of Panthers cut the lead to 65-64, and a missed LLHS free throw allowed Piedra Vista to draw a foul with about 12 seconds remaining.

A Panther player made the first foul shot and missed the second, setting up the Tigers for their final game-winning sequence with the game tied, 65-65.

The ball was knocked out of bounds underneath the Panther basket with only a few seconds left. Jacob Holland ended up taking a shot for the Tigers, and he missed, but the aggressive Mullins was able to tip in the rebound just before the buzzer sounded.

Holland had 11 points for the Tigers, while Ben Romero added 10. Los Lunas made an impressive 26 shots from the field, but was an insipid 12-of-23 from the foul line.

The Panthers, who were 14-of-17 from the free throw line, were led by 16 points from Steven Ty Jaquez. Jacob Armijo had 14, Troy Dixon had 12 and Shanahan Wilson had 11 for Piedra Vista.

The Panthers made nine 3-pointers in the contest, with no player making more than three, compared to only three treys by the Tigers.

"I don't feel we played that well at PV — no disrespect to how good they are," said LLHS coach Travis Julian. "We got back to being individuals. Our on-the-ball defense was atrocious."

The coach praised Mullins for stepping up his play.

"'Q' really kept us in that game," said Julian. "He was unbelievable. He's really been coming along lately."

Los Lunas 67, Del Norte 47

The Tigers outhustled and outsmarted the host Knights (4-10) on Thursday, posting a 26-6 lead by the end of the first quarter and 30-point edge by halftime.

Los Lunas led by as many as 34 points in the second half.

"I was pleased with how we played tonight," said Julian. "Ben Romero did a great job of being a point guard."

Chris Sanchez had a game-high 20 points, sometimes out-hustling three or four Knights on a single play. Holland had 11, and Romero had 10. The Tigers made five 3-pointers, each by a different player, and gave up zero treys by the Knights. Los Lunas was also 16-of-21 from the foul line, and Tiger reserve guards did well in patiently running out the clock against physical defense.

The frustrated Knights, who were whistled for two technical fouls just before halftime, got 16 points from Francisco Baca and 14 from Christopher Wright.


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