Breaking News
Home / Sports News / St. Michael’s hopes to rebound from Wednesday night’s non district home loss to undefeated Espanola Valley when it plays host to non district opponent Albuquerque Academy tonight

St. Michael’s hopes to rebound from Wednesday night’s non district home loss to undefeated Espanola Valley when it plays host to non district opponent Albuquerque Academy tonight

Horsemen lose fourth straight in 75-54 setback

By Arnie Leshin
Arnie Leshin

The schedule eases up for the St. Michael’s boy’s basketball team. Or so it hopes.

After Wednesday night’s 75-54 setback to undefeated Espanola Valley in a non district home contest, the Horsemen now own a five-game losing streak and a 5-8 record that they take into tonight’s non district visit from Albuquerque Academy (2-6).

From there, it’s a short break before playing host to the Horsemen Shootout on Jan. 12. Here, they will face Silver (7-4), Portales (7-4) and Santa Fe Indian School (7-6).

On Jan. 16, District 2-4A gets underway with St. Michael’s opening at Las Vegas Robertson (5-8). Next comes Pojoaque Valley (3-6), West Las Vegas (7-6) and Taos (5-6). All are in the Horsemen’s category, and no more routs expected by the likes of Espanola Valley (12-0), the top-ranked team in 5A.

The Sundevils are one of six boy’s team with unblemished records. In 2A. there’s Magdalena (12-0). In 3A, there’s Texico at 11-0, Estancia at 5-0. In 4A, Bernalillo is 15-0, in 5A there’s Espanola, and in 6A, Las Cruces is 14-0.

Also among the stretch of district opponents for St. Michael’s is a non district game versus Albuquerque Sandia Prep, which is 2-8, so at least the slate gets lighter leading to the district run before the district tournament, and the state tournament.

Two Horsemen games could have gone either way, the 52-48 defeat to Belen and the 64-62 overtime loss to Borger, Tex.

Against the Sundevils, St. Michael’s hung in there for the first two quarters, making good on 15-of-23 shots and having a sizeable edge in rebounds, 17-6, and trailed 36-34. Junior Thomas Woods led the way with 10 points and senior Antonio Gabaldon scored seven.

But it also included 11 first half turnovers.

And when the second half got underway, the home team turned the ball over its first six times, and wound with 16 for the half. It had a chance to grab the lead when the Sundevils slumped in the third quarter, making only one of their dozen shots, but along came 5-foot-9 senior guard Martin Garcia to put his side back in gear. He had four 3s in all, but after he tossed in one during the slump, it sent Espanola on a 18-6 run that they maintained, and Garcia had the team-high 15 points.

Surprisingly, starting Espanola 6-foot senior forward JP Sena remained in the game after he picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter. He was its strongest rebounder with 6-foot-4 senior Azaziah Salazar sidelined with a strep throat, and sat until the final eight minutes.

Still, the Sundevil shooters kept hitting 3s, with back-to-back ones within 36 seconds upping the margin to 53-37 with two minutes left in the third quarter. St. Michael’s was hurt by these 3s and the aggressive pressure defense applied by Espanola.

With 4:02 remaining, the advantage was 64-47.

As for Espanola, it will be Jan. 23 before it meets up with second ranked Capital (14-2) in district 2-5A play at the Sundevils’ court. Then they meet up again at Capital on Feb. 9.

No doubt, these two are again the top teams in their district, and Espanola first takes on non district foes Farmington, Belen, and Rio Rancho, who it defeated in the finals of the Jalene Burger Holiday Classic in Rio Rancho, and starts district play versus Albuquerque Academy.

The Chargers and Albuquerque Del Norte (2-9) don’t appear to be a threat in this district, but Los Alamos (7-5) could.

So it comes down to St. Michael’s probably in the weakest district, Capital having to contend with Espanola and Los Alamos, and in 6A Santa Fe High will be matching up against Albuquerque schools, Manzano, Eldorado, Sandia, La Cueva, and then comes Clovis, the longest ride, in a well-balanced district.



Check Also

All in the world of sports

By Arnie Leshin  The world champion United States women’s soccer team wins on the field …