Home / Sports News / It was an all City Different district 5-5A tournament final Saturday night as Santa Fe High disposed of visiting cross town rival Capital, 69- 59, to win district despite a lack of height

It was an all City Different district 5-5A tournament final Saturday night as Santa Fe High disposed of visiting cross town rival Capital, 69- 59, to win district despite a lack of height

By Arnie Leshin 
Arnie Leshin

They both deserve a round of applause, Santa Fe High for overcoming the loss of its two tallest injured starters and still climbing to the top of the District 5-5A basketball standings, and cross town rival Capital having to play four times in five days and still gain the district final.

 

It was nearly a full house Saturday night at Toby Roybal Memorial gymnasium and the Demons prevailed 69-59 as they were again outsized, but with a bye to this district tournament championship game, and full of newfound confidence at 21-7 overall

 

It was the first time the two schools had met in a district final since Capital’s birth in 1988. It was only the fifth district tourney title for the Demons in 39 years. In 2000, they matched up in the 2-4A semifinals versus Capital.

 

But now the Jaguars’ problem was having to rise up from fourth place while  Albuquerque Manzano was losing to Santa Fe High at the Capital court in a playoff game for the top spot in district.

 

So while the Jags (21-9) come off back-to-back wins home and away over Manzano, the runner-up Monarchs (14-12) will get the higher seed when the NMAA state tournament field is announced Sunday night. Here, overall records don’t count as much as district finishes.

 

And so Santa Fe High is hoping for a top eight seed that would bring it a first-round home game. All this after losing 6-foot-6 sophomore Fedonta “JB” White for the rest of the season after a knee injured suffered in the one-point non district loss at Clovis. Two games later, 6-2 junior starter Anthony Sisneros, its next tallest player, suffered the same fate.

 

Still, the Demons were able to hang around with the rest of their game in tact.

It took a dream season, but it’s not over yet,” said senior point guard Antonio Lovato. “We still want that blue trophy.”
No argument here. They remain a threat despite having a lineup of 6-feet and under, but with an array of other assets like outside shooting, aggressive defense, hustle, and battling for rebounds. Plus, the masterful head coaching of Zack Cole and his staff.
His team controlled play early on. Lovato ignited a 12-2 run to finish the third quarter with a 60-49 advantage after the Jags, playing without their injured leading scorers Seth Arroyos (concussion) and TJ Sanchez (ankle), both juniors, closed to within 48-47 when junior Brandon Saiz tossed in a 3-Spointer with five minutes left in the quarter.
But Capital was down to nine players for this game and head coach Ben Gomez, Cole’s father-in-law, needed to give his starters a rest by calling two-straight time outs.
Of course Cole was concerned. He knew Gomez’ teams don’t quit, but when the Jaguars came within 60-51 at the start of the final quarter, his team scored seven of the next eight points and the lead became 67-52 with four minutes left.
Sophomore Dominic Luna of Capital led all scorers with 19 points and junior teammate Chano Herrera added 17. For the Demons, it was junior Carlos Dessaro and senior Christian Kavanaugh turning in 16 points each. Kavanaugh is one of six Santa Fe High seniors, the Jaguars have only one in Siji Olivas, who scored 11.

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