TIGERS’ TALE

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The Belen and Los Lunas boys basketball teams were tied 7-7 about five minutes into the first quarter of their game last Thursday night at Los Lunas High School.

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: BELEN SENIOR GUARD Colton Lewis (10) looks to get past Los Lunas defenders Jalen Chavez (10), Chad Murphy (12) and Jacob Holland, in back, during the Eagles-Tigers District 6-4A game on Thursday, Jan. 23.

Then the Tigers turned on the jets on offense and turned the screws down on defense to go on a 17-5 run that only ballooned as the game wore on, giving Los Lunas a convincing 79-60 victory over the Eagles. The game was the District 6-4A opener for both teams.

Los Lunas was paced by senior Chris Sanchez, who scored a game-high 33 points, and fellow senior Jacob Holland, who added 25 points.

Sanchez and Holland kept up their high-scoring shenanigans Saturday, scoring 30 and 10 points, respectively, to lead the Tigers to a 76-60 win over host Grants. Senior Randy Moore added 20 points in the win, which pushed LLHS to 12-5, 2-0 in district.

The Tigers are again No. 2 in this week in the MaxPreps Class 4A poll at www.maxpreps.com.

At Los Lunas Thursday night, the Tigers took a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter, but Belen senior Colton Lewis single-handedly brought the Eagles back into it, scoring seven points in less than a minute to tie the game.

Lewis would go on to score a team-high 29 points, hitting five 3-pointers in the game, but only Thomas Cordova would come close to double-figure scoring for Belen. The Eagles’ lack of other scoring threats, coupled with LLHS’ tough defending, would lead BHS to the loss.

“You’ve got to give them a lot of credit.” said BHS coach Patrick Mondragon. “We had a bad first half. The pressure got to us. They’re a good team. You have a first half like we had and it’s tough to compete with them,” he said.

Leading 38-25 at halftime, Los Lunas continued to pour on the scoring in the third quarter with Sanchez scoring 14 points as the Tigers held Belen to four points for the first four minutes of the quarter. The Tigers lead only increased going into the final quarter of the game.

“I thought our guys came out ready to play,” said LLHS coach Travis Julian. “Colton’s a heck of a player. We knew we had our hands full with him but we still made it hard on him. In doing that, I thought it affected their overall offense.”

Los Lunas followed up their win over Belen with a 76-60 romp over Grants, Saturday. Sanchez again led the Tigers with 30 points. Holland added 11 points while senior Randy Moore scored 20 points in the win.

VHS downed in opener, Gallup grounds BHS

LOS LUNAS GUARD Kayden Walker, left, is defended closely by Belen’s Brandon Ammons during the Tigers’ 79-60 win.

Belen followed the loss at Los Lunas with an 81-73 loss at No. 76-79 Gallup (9-8, 2-0).

Playing before Gallup’s renowned vocal home-court crowd, the Eagles got off to a poor start and fell behind by as much as 16 points by the third quarter before rallying in the fourth quarter.

BHS coach Patrick Mondragon said his team cut the lead to six but missed crucial shots late in the quarter, short-circuiting their comeback.

“Gallup’s a tough place to play,” he said. “We won there in the district tournament last year, but it was different with our youth (this time).

“They got a little nervous, the crowd got into it and they got on a little run. We didn’t respond well. But I think the kids learned from it,” said Mondragon.

Gallup started league play Thursday night by defeating Valencia 68-56, Thursday night at Valencia High School.

The Jaguars started strong in their next game at Miyamura in Gallup, taking a 20-12 lead into the second quarter.

But the Patriots surged back to tie the game 29-29 at halftime, then out-scored Valencia 11-6 in a decisive fourth quarter to take a 47-42 win.

“They set up a trap late; we threw the ball away and got the lead and we couldn’t get back,” said VHS coach Hamilton Doyle. “We were forced to foul down the stretch and they did the things they needed to do to win.”

Both team’s earned their first District 6-4A wins Tuesday night at home. Valencia mounted a fourth quarter rally to take a 67-63 win over Grants, while Belen overcame a halftime deficit to beat Gallup Miyamura 51-45.

Read about both games in our “Web Exclusive” boys basketball story online today at www.news-bulletin.com.

Boys basketball
Web Exclusive
All three county teams won Tuesday night, highlighted
by LLHS’ win over Gallup
to take the district lead
and Valencia’s comeback
win against Grants.
Look for a Web First report,
online today at
www.news-bulletin.com.