Road proves rough for county cagers

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It was a rough week for the country’s three boys basketball teams.

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: BELEN’s BRANDON AMMONS, right, battles for position with Rio Grande’s Aaron Tonihka during a free throw attempt during the Eagles-Ravens game Monday Night at Belen High School.

Going for the Ironman award, Valencia (7-8) played four games in five days, while Los Lunas (8-4) again spent the week on the road. Belen (6-6) stayed at home, but was unable to parlay their home stand into wins.

The Tigers remained at No. 2 in the MaxPreps rankings released Sunday. The Eagles rose to No. 12, while the Jaguars moved up to No. 16.

BHS third in Bronco Invite

The Jaguars had a week the famed Argonauts would have envied, playing four games in five nights, beginning with an epic, four-overtime game at Bernalillo that ultimately fell in their favor 83-79.

VHS lost to Santa Fe 56-48 two nights later and would cap the week with a 60-51 loss at No. 2 Las Cruces Centennial.

But the Jags salvaged the split with a spirited performance at home against Deming Friday night, beating the Wildcats 55-54 with a gutsy performance in the final minutes of the game.

Junior Josh Baca, who led the team in scoring in all four games, scored 10 of his game-high 18 points in the final four minutes of regulation, including a tip in with two seconds left in the game to lead the Jaguars on its decisive 15-4 run late in the quarter.

“I just saw an opening and used my height advantage,” said Baca, describing the play after the game. “I stayed in the game mentally and kept shooting.”

Josh Doyle added 15 points on five 3-pointers in the win, while Quentin Wanstall added nine points, hitting a trio of 3-pointers. The Jags made twice as many treys (13) as their did 2-point shots (six) in the game as Deming’s zone defense limited the team’s looks inside the paint.

Valencia is idle this week and begins its District 6-4A campaign next Thursday at home against No. 8 Gallup (7-6).

“We’ll have a good week to get healed up and get our legs under us (by then),” said coach Hamitlon Doyle. “I think we’ll be in the right frame or mind,” he said.

LLHS: Road split, domination at home

The Tigers spent another week on the road, with similar results to last week’s games.

On Thursday, Los Lunas’s trio of scorers, Jacob Holland, Chris Sanchez and Chad Murphy matched the scoring of Academy, scoring trio led by senior Chris Martin.

But the rest of the Tigers produced just eight points compared to the Chargers’ 13 points points from reserves — a factor that which ended up being the edge Academy needed to pull the 66-59 upset in Albuquerque

Jacob Holland again led LLHS with 21 points, while Chris Sanchez and Chad Murphy added 17 and 13 points respectively in the loss. Martin finished with a game-high 23 points.

The Tigers bounced back Saturday at Los Alamos, jumping out to a 15-8 first quarter lead on their way to a 63-42 win over the Hilltoppers, who have just one win this season.

Holland again led Los Lunas with 22 points. Sanchez added 21 points in the win.

LLHS deafeated Piedra Vista 66-33 Tuesday night. The Tigers host Del Norte tonight then play at Kirtland Central Saturday. before beginning league play Thursday, Jan. 23, at home against arch rivals Belen.

BHS: home loses to Academy, Rio Grande

The Eagles lost a pair of hard-fought games at home this past week, losing 62-59 to Academy on Tuesday, Jan. 7, then dropping a 68-59 decision to Rio Grande Monday night.

Against Academy, Belen jumped out to a 21-14 first quarter lead and held the advantage until late in the fourth quarter, when the Chargers finished a 20-9 fourth-quarter swell to steal the game away.

Chris Martin scored 15 of his game high 27 points for Academy from the free throw line.

Belen was paced by Colton Lewis’ 15 points as well as 12 points from Thomas Cordova and 10 points from Antonio Chavez.

The Eagles lost at West Mesa 65-59 Tuesday night and close their pre-district Thursday at home against Bernalillo before travelling up I-25 to play. Los Lunas next Thursday.