Jaguar boys take Miyamura to overtime; fall short by 10

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There are many lessons for the young Valencia High boys basketball team to learn this season. They had to learn another painful one on Tuesday night.

After overcoming a sluggish start to lead at the end of the third quarter at Miyamura, the Jaguars were eventually tied up at the end of regulation in an eventual 42-32 overtime loss.

The Jags were set to host Grants on Friday after News-Bulletin press time. Valencia wraps up the regular season with a road game at Belen at 7 p.m. Tuesday and a home game against Los Lunas High on Saturday, Feb. 23.

"There is such a steep learning curve," said Valencia coach Ezau Rios. "We hope to get something out of some of these tough, close, road losses."

Tuesday's loss was the Jaguars' fifth consecutive defeat. It dropped the team's record to 5-18 overall and 1-6 in District 6-4A. Miyamura improved to 11-10, 3-4.

The low-scoring affair in Gallup was a defensive struggle, with Valencia trailing 8-4 after one quarter.

The Jags, who had beaten the Patriots in a Jan. 26 game at VHS, went up 11-10 by halftime of Tuesday's game. Valencia led 24-22 at the end of three quarters.

Rios said Valencia was up 30-27 late in the fourth quarter before Miyamura's Jared Meese tied the game on a 3-point play with 58 seconds left in regulation. Valencia's Josh Baca got the ball in deep with about 13 seconds left, but was stripped of the ball on a play that involved a lot of contact.

"He was hit, and there was no call, but we knew things like that aren't usually called late in a game," said Rios.

In overtime, the Jags missed a layup and a 12-foot jumper on its first two possessions, while the Patriots scored the first two times they touched the ball. Garrett Gibson then scored for Valencia's only two points of overtime, and the Patriots got their last six points on 6-of-6 free-throw shooting.

"Miyamura actually made all of its last 10 free throws," said Rios.

Baca led the Jags with 14 points. Dominic Zamora added nine, making the team's only three 3-pointers.

Valencia only made 13 shots from the field, and only shot six free throws.

"We were doing a better job of getting to the line, but we haven't, lately," said Rios.

Jaguar sophomore Quentin Wanstall couldn't seem to get his shots to fall, the coach said, and had only one point. Senior post Josue Padilla didn't play as he continues to nurse a left-ankle sprain.

When the Jags play at Belen on Tuesday, they'll be facing the Eagle team that won, 75-46, at Valencia on Feb. 1.

"How we start out in that game, will be huge," said Rios.


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