Tough loss for Santa Fe High boy's basketball in District 2-6A game with Albuquerque La Cueva
Demons tied for second in district with Bears
By ARNIE LESHIN
Albuquerque Eldorado leads the boy's basketball District 2-6A at 7-0 (16-5 overall and has won nine in a row, but don't judge the teams below it by their records.
Currently the Eagles and Santa Fe High are the only ones over .500 overall in the 6-school district, but in Tuesday night's 62-58 loss at Albuquerque La Cueva, the Demons learned you can't take anybody lightly as the Bears, only 9-12 overall, managed to tie them at 5-2 each for second place.
It was also the third straight win for La Cueva and followed up a tight 3-point win for Santa Fe High over Albuquerque Sandia, which is 9-12 overall and 1-6 in district, and recently gave Eldorado a scare before losing 39-37.
Then there's Clovis, who the Demons (15-8) visit Saturday night. Clovis is 10-13 and 3-4, and comes off Tuesday night's 70-69 overtime triumph over last place Albuquerque Manzano.
Except that the basement dwelling Monarchs have been making it tough on almost every opponent. Along with the tough loss to Clovis, they have lost games by six points, by three points twice, by one to La Cueva, by one to Eldorado (yes, Eldorado), and by one to Santa Fe High.
They are 0-7 in district, but deserve better. Losing by a point each to the two schools above .500 means they can tough it out while coming out on the short end.
On Monday, Manzano tries to sneak into the win column when it visits the Demons, who no doubt have been tuned into the fight of these Monarchs.
Against La Cueva, who Santa Fe High dominated 68-51 back on Jan. 20 at Toby Roybal Memorial gymnasium, the Bears led 16-8 early one before an 11-2 run by the Demons brought a 19-18 advantage after one quarter.
But in the second half the visitors continued to make turnovers, 14 in all, that often led to La Cueva points. The Bears came away with 17 points off of turnovers, including five in the third quarter via three-straight steals.
That thwarted a 10-0 Santa Fe High run and brought a 12-2 Bears' response. It turned a 38-30 Demons' lead into a 42-40 advantage off a steal and a layup by Jake Washecka with 50 seconds left in the third quarter.
Another steal in the first minute of the fourth quarter put La Cueva up 48-43. With every Santa Fe High rally, the Bears had an answer, plus the Demons were playing this one without starting guard Oscar Perez, who was suspended for this game after being ejected in the final seconds against Sandia.
And when the Demons' David Marquez scored on a drive from the top of the key to start a four-point run and get within 48-47, back came the Bears' Elijah Herron to toss in a 3, and it was now a 51-47 lead for this team with 5:08 remaining.
Again, La Cueva responded. Marquez followed with a 3 to trim the gap to 51-50, but along came the Bears' Thomas Jenson for a layup and free throw and a 54-50 lead.
Back came Marquez with another 3 to knot the score at 57-all with 1:55 to go, except that La Cueva came right back to edge in front 59-57 and this time the Demons could not cut into the slim deficit as the Bears showed that they are much better than the team that played in November.
Still, Santa Fe High remained in the hunt for the state tournament. It must play well down the stretch of the regular season and hope for perhaps a second place finish for the district tournament. But it can't take anybody lightly when you can toss out won-loss records at this time.
No basketball games tonight, and on Thursday it's a 3-3A doubleheader at Pecos against Raton.
The girl's game is scheduled for 5:30, with the first place boys to follow. The Panther boys are 20-1 overall, 5-0 in district, and have won 20 in a row after losing in the opener to West Las Vegas. Raton is 8-12 and 2-1.
The Pecos girls also hold down first place at 5-0 and are 15-7 overall. Raton is 10-10 and 3-1.
Saturday, along with Santa Fe High at Clovis, a big one in 2-5A has Capital visiting Espanola Valley, with the Sundevils having lost two in a row and standing at 16-7 overall and 3-2 in district. The Jaguars, 17-4 overall, are in first place at 3-1 and lost 40-39 to Espanola in the game at home.
Then there's St. Michael's at Pojoaque Valley in 2-4A. The Horsemen are 12-11 overall and 3-2 in district. The Elks, also 3-2 in district, sport a 14-9 overall mark. There's also last place Taos (8-15, 0-5) at West Las Vegas, which is 2-2 in district and 14-6 overall.
And at Pecos, Desert Academy comes in at 11-9 overall and 2-1 in district.