Hot shooting leads the Tiger boys to a win at Gallup

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With a new coach and a new set of high scorers, the Los Lunas Tigers found themselves alone atop the District 6-4A boys basketball standings after an impressive road victory at Gallup on Tuesday, 79-68.

"It was a big win," said Travis Julian, the Tigers' first-year coach. "Anytime you can win in Gallup, it is definitely something you can feel good about."

Los Lunas (13-5 overall, 3-0 in District 6-4A after Tuesday's win) left no doubt as they scored early and posted an early double-digit lead over the Bengals in their own gym, taking a 25-13 first quarter lead on the way to a 43-26 edge at halftime.

The Tigers were set to host Miyamura (9-8, 1-2) on Friday night in a game that was set to tip off after News-Bulletin press time. Los Lunas will host county rival Valencia (5-14, 1-2) with a 7 p.m. game Thursday, Feb. 7.

Jacob Holland led the Tigers with 25 points, while Ben Romero added 22 in the road victory at Gallup (10-8, 1-2). The two were key in the early offensive explosion.

"We shot the ball extremely well," said Julian. "We came out very hot. Jacob Holland, Ben Romero and Dakota Eward shot the ball very well."

The Tiger coach was also complimentary of the hustle of junior Chris Sanchez, who stole the ball on the opening possession and drove in fro the first basket of the game.

"Chris Sanchez got us going defensively," said Julian. "His intensity on defense really sparked us."

Gallup didn't fold, despite trailing by 17 at the break. The Bengals scored 26 in the third to narrow the lead to 62-52. The closest Gallup would get would be eight points in the final frame.

"They got a bunch of buckets in transition," said Julian of the third quarter rally. "Really, it was like that in the first quarter, but it didn't hurt us there."

He noted that Lionel Money hit three treys in the quarter, and scored 14 in the game.

"He knocked down some threes from the arc and that really hurt us," said Julian.

After the Bengals pulled to within eight, Gallup's post Andrew Klumpenhower fouled out.

"That was a key to the game — getting him out," said Julian. "We got him in foul trouble with our own fast breaks. We were pushing the ball extremely well."

Sanchez was the only other Tiger in double figures with 14. Quentin Mullins scored eight and Eward added seven.

Julian welcomes the four days of practice before facing Valencia on Thursday.

"We just have to stay focused on improvement," he said. "We are going to get back to what we do and try to get better defensively. Those practice days will be valuable. Those other teams will be gunning for us now."


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