St. Michael’s boy’s basketball outplays West Las Vegas, 46-35, on the road Friday night to claim second place in the final standings of District 2-4A Junior guard Jevon Montoya leads the way with 16 points that included a trio of 3s, and the Horsemen come away with an impressive defensive display and balanced attack
By Arnie Leshen
Taking to the road, the St. Michael’s boy’s basketball team was aware of West Las Vegas being a good team, especially on its home court.
Except once they got warmed up, the Horsemen responded in the second quarter and held off the Dons in the fourth quarter to depart with a 46-35 win Friday night and finish in second place in District 2-4A.
Not only did St. Michael’s (12-14) control the pace of the game, but head coach David Rodriguez also gave credit to its defense, the ability to take care of the ball and convert clutch foul shots as West Las Vegas has a miserable time putting in free throws.
The two were playing for the runner-up spot behind first place Taos, both coming in at 4-3, and with the Horsemen already owning an overtime win at against the Dons (13-13). Now Rodriguez, in his first season as head coach, can await the Thursday night semifinals versus whoever remains among WLV, Las Vegas Robertson and Pojoaque Valley.
The winner will play at Taos (16-10) for the district title on Saturday. The Horsemen has already lost twice to the Tigers, both in overtime.
It was a sloppy first quarter as the Dons couldn’t find the range and the visitors were a little bit better and led 11-9 after the first eight minutes.
But after West Las Vegas edged in front 17-16 late in the second quarter, St, Michael’s answered back with 10 straight points to go up 26-17 at the half. The third quarter also belonged to the Horsemen. With a pesky defense and good balance, they upped the margin to 33-19 midway through the third quarter with a 1 7-2 run before the Dons could find the range.
In the fourth quarter, West Las Vegas did close the 15-point deficit to within 42-35, St. Michael’s took charge once again by scoring the last four points in the final 1:25. The Horsemen connected on 7-of-10 free throws in the final eight minutes and were 13-for-21 from the charity stripe, But the Dons could make only 12-of-28 freebies.
Junior guard Jevon Montoya sparked St. Michael’s with 16 points that included a trio of 3. He picked clutch times to make his shots. Connor Glatz had a stellar all-around game inside and added nine points, seven coming in the opening quarter.
Then there was sophomore Thomas Wood scoring eight before fouling out late in the final quarter, Seven Horsemen made the scoring column.
“We took charge of the ball and played tough defense,” Rodriguez said. “We also made our foul shots when we had to, especially in the final minutes.”
Perhaps a good sign of things to come came in the junior varsity contest won handily by St. Michael’s 88-57. It was a happy ride back on I-25 for the program.
Big game tonight in 2-5A when Capital (19-6) plays host to Los Alamos (9-15), with second place at stake. Also key is the Albuquerque Del Norte (10-13) at first place Espanola Valley (22-0), with the Knights and Jaguars trying to wrap up second place and play host to Thursday night’s semifinals. The Sundevils meet that survivor at home Saturday night.
In district, Capital is 4-3 and Del Norte 5-2, but a Knights’ loss and Jags’ win would create a tie that might require an added game during the district tournament.
If Del Norte claims the runner-up spot, it would be a problem for the Jaguars’ state tournament hopes. No matter that Capital would have the better record, the NMAA selection committee would not invite the third place finisher ahead of the runneru-up.