Tigers dismantle Miyamura, 63-36

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

It is seldom that a semifinal playoff game between two District 6-4A boys basketball teams is decided in the first two minutes.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Tiger Post Player Quentin Mullins fights for the basketball with Miyamura’s Jared Meese during Los Lunas’ dominating win over the Patriots on Wednesday night, 63-36. The Tigers faced Belen for the district championship in a game played Friday night after the News-Bulletin went to press.

That is exactly what happened Wednesday night as No. 5 seed Miyamura lost to No. 1 seed Los Lunas, Wednesday night, 63-36.

It was over early. The Tigers went on a 10-0 run to start the game and never trailed. The closest Miyamura got was within six points early in the second quarter. By halftime, Los Lunas was up, 27-18.

Los Lunas was set to host No. 3 seed Belen, a surprise 66-63 winner at Gallup in the other semifinal contest, on Friday in a game that started after the News-Bulletin went to press.

Having won the district regular season title, the Tigers are already in the field of 16 teams that will begin the Class 4A state playoffs on March 9 at school sites.

The selections and seeding for the upcoming state tournament will be webcast on www.proviewnetworks.com, starting at noon on Sunday. The brackets will be posted on the New Mexico Activities Association website, www.nmact.org, after the completion of ProView’s webcast.

The quarterfinals begin at the Pit on the University of New Mexico campus on March 12. The state championship game will be held on Saturday, March 16.

Los Lunas set the tone for the semifinal contest early, using a pressure defense to create turnovers in the first three Patriot possessions. They showed that they were clearly superior on the third basket of the game, a feed from Ben Romero to Chris Sanchez that threaded between two Miyamura defenders, who were chasing Sanchez.

The speedy guard took the perfect pass in stride, and laid it in off the glass in one smooth motion to make it 6-0. The Miyamura players just shook their heads in disbelief.

“Coach tells us to run our lanes,” said Sanchez. “I know that Ben will get it to me. He is our point guard and he will make a play.”

Sanchez led the scoring for Los Lunas, along with Jacob Holland, with 17 points each. Romero finished with 10, hitting six-of-eight from the free throw line.

The Tigers built a 46-24 lead on a layup from Jacob Holland, this time with Sanchez feeding the ball on the break.

“It all starts, like, when we run the floor,” said Holland. “Coach tells us to run the floor hard and we do. We are unselfish. That is why we have been winning. We are constantly looking for each other.”

But Miyamura wasn’t ready to fold up the tent. Three straight possessions with 3-pointers pulled the Patriots to within 15 at 48-33.

Los Lunas went on 7-0 run to put the game away, leading 55-33. Coach Travis Julian praised his team’s unselfish play.

“Tonight was an example of that,” he said. “They played very unselfishly and didn’t take bad shots.”

Julian noted that the Tigers would be waiting just like everyone else to see who they would play in the first round of the state playoffs.

“There are a lot of good teams out there,” said Julian. “We have no control over who we will draw. We just have to be ready for anybody.”


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