District 2-4A: West Las Vegas appealed to the courts, St. Michael's loses to Las Vegas Robertson in key boy's test
Santa Fe High nips visiting Albuquerque Sandia in 2-6A; 2-5A Espanola Valley stunned Albuquerque Academy, Santa Fe Indian School falls to Sandia Prep
By ARNIE LESHIN
While West Las Vegas took its appeal to the courts to tell it to the judge, district rivals St. Michael's and Las Vegas Robertson clashed Friday night at the Cardinals' court in a key 2-4A boy's basketball game.
And again it was Robertson senior Arty Ortiz, the football quarterback who engineered a pair of late touchdowns to win at St. Michael's, who found his way underneath for a follow-up tip-in with two seconds remaining in a 36-34 thriller.
This put the Cards at 4-1 in district and dropped the Horsemen to 3-2. Overall, Robertson is 13-7 and St. Michael's 12-11.
Meanwhile, both schools learned earlier in the day that the New Mexico Activities Association was defeated in the Fourth Judicial District when the judge ruled that the remaining two games scheduled against Robertson and St. Michael's will be played as scheduled, overruling the NMAA violation of the bylaws that had the Dons forfeit its two games against the two.
This came after WLV head coach David Bustos and assistant Steve Sandoval filed for an injunction on behalf of their sons who play on the team. They sued the NMAA to prevent its team from losing via forfeits.
But according to the rules set forth by the NMAA, this doesn't make much sense. The forfeitures were in accordance with its ruling in January that a Dons' assistant filmed a Jan. 17 game matching the Cardinals at the Horsemen.
The Association's bylaws prevent a third party from filming a contest without permission from both schools. Initially, the NMAA penalized Bustos and the assistant with suspensions for two games, each ensuing ones versus Robertson and St. Michael's.
But when the Association changed its mind after speaking with Cardinal and Horsemen officials and instead forced WLV to forfeit all four games against them, Bustos and Sandoval filled for an injunction, arguing that the players are being denied their individual rights to participate.
And so, while the Dons were in violation of the bylaws, their concern for their players became the main issue. And so the court decided in favor of West Las Vegas. Let the boys play. Now, when a school has an appeal against the NMAA, it can tell it to the judge. Go figure.
The first two games against Robertson and St. Michael's were already forfeited, 2-0, so now Dons' athletic director Richard Tripp intends to make a decision on Feb. 17 on whether the two remaining forfeited games will be played.
In getting back to the reported game, it was tied at 7-7 after one quarter and 18-all at halftime. The Horsemen edged in front 25-23 after three quarters and then came a hectic final quarter decided in the fading seconds.
Ortiz, who scored eight points, was there to tip-in an underneath miss by teammate Ismail Martinez to break a 34-34 deadlock. St. Michael's then called a time out, but the play designed to get a desperate shot off was knocked down by a Cardinal.
What hurt the visitors was the surprising miss of three fouls shot from reliable senior guard Thomas Pacheco. With his team up by 34-32, he had been fouled on a 3-point try with 2:26 to go. With 1:32 on the clock, Robertson junior guard Noah Leger scored off a turnover to knot the count at 34-34.
There were four ties and four lead changes as both teams slowed down the pace and looked for the good shots. Leger led his team with 11 points and Horsemen sophomore guard Jevon Montoya also scored 11.
While St. Michael's converted only 7 of 14 free throws, Robertson made all five of its attempts. Ledger made three of his team's five 3 and Montoya had a pair of 3s.
Wonder if West Las Vegas was there scouting or maybe even filming?
In 2-6A at Santa Fe High, the Demons responded after yet another controversy by nipping Albuquerque Sandia, 53-50. With this, they advance to 5-1 in district and 15-7 overall following a defeat for first place at Albuquerque Eldorado.
Most important, Santa Fe High managed to regain its composure after a rocky seven-day stretch that saw two of its varsity players suspended, then dismissed from the team, as well as a possible sex crime that involved several players.
But it had to come from behind versus a Matadors' team that is now 9-10 overall and 1-4 in district.
The visitors were up by 32-24 in the third quarter, but the play of senior wing David Marquez and senior guard Oscar Perez brought the Demons back. The two tossed in back-to-back 3s and the team brought down four offensive rebounds over the last 5:30 of the quarter.
This put Santa Fe High on top 36-34 and it upped the margin to 46-39 with six minutes left in the game. But it didn't help when the Demons missed 3-of-6 foul shots in the closing 40 seconds. But when Johnny Rodriguez hit the second of two freebies, it brought a 53-48 advantage and Santa Fe High held off a final threat by Sandia.
That was the good, the bad was having Perez ejected after a verbal exchange with a Matador with only 15.7 to go. This is yet another blow to his team, for he will have to sit out Tuesday's game at Albuquerque La Cueva.
Again, another challenge for these Demons to overcome.
In a surprising upset, Espanola Valley was handed a 52-49 setback at Albuquerque Academy in 2-5A. It was indeed a shocker, for the Chargers are only 6-15 overall and now 2-3 in district. But the Sundevils crashed to 16-5 overall and suffered their first loss in four district contests.
Also in 2-5A, Albuquerque Del Norte took a 60-58 squeaker over visiting Los Alamos. The Knights moved to 11-11 overall and 2-3 in district, while the Hilltoppers became 9-12 overall and 1-3 in district.
In 2-4A at Taos, Pojoaque Valley left with a 52-49 triumph and is now 3-1 in district and 14-8 overall. The last place Tigers fell to 0-5 in district and 8-15 overall.
Santa Fe Indian School went down twice to Albuquerque Sandia Prep, the boys losing in a tight one at home, 58-57, and the girls falling 71-57 on the road in District 5-4A play.
Another wild and wooly day for boy's basketball.