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Santa Fe High’s boys won for the third time in five starts against rival Capital Monday night to claim first place in District 5-5A after the playoff game at Santa Fe Indian School’s Pueblo Pavilion

By Arnie Leshin 
Number 6, number 7, will it be in the district final, will it be in the state tournament?
For after Monday night‘s one-game playoff for first place in District 5-5A, the fifth meeting this season between cross town rivals Capital and Santa Fe High, circle the district tournament final and somewhere in the state tournament.
In the district final will be the Demons, who carted off an exciting 67-62 win over the Jaguars before a crowd estimated at somewhere in the thousands at the Santa Fe Indian School Pueblo Pavilion.
Like the previous four games, two in the Bobby Rodriguez/Capital City tournament at Toby Roybal Memorial gymnasium, and at the Capital court for the Al Armendariz tournament, the teams went back-and-fourth after  splitting the the earlier clashes.
Thus the tiebreaker when both wound up 9-1 for the top spot, and the Demons and Jaguars are banking on being high seeds when the NMAA announces its 16-school field on Sunday.
This time, it was 6-foot-7 junior Fednona “JB” White who led the way for Santa Fe High. He had the game-high 28 points, most coming in the paint, and had a strong night bringing down rebounds and on defense.
Then there was 5-8 senior guard Jordan Campos coming off the bench when starting junior guard Cruz Martinez picked up his fifth foul with two minutes remaining in regulation. In that span, Campos responded well as the clock ticked down.
Up 58-56, Campos scored on an open driving layup up the lead to 60-56 with 1:28 to go. Then, after 5-10 Capital junior Dominic Luna drove in for his own layup, Campos countered with a pair of free throws and it was 63-60 with 0:27.8 left.
Then, when the Jags had to foul, White stepped to the line and converted five of six freebies to close out the game. He had scored six of the Demons last 11 points in the first quarter after Capital took a 12-10 lead, and he wound up the first half with 15 points, but his team was down 38-34 at the intermission.
And this because the Jaguars had plenty left, using a 13-6 run in the second quarter to wipe out a 28-25 deficit and take the lead at the half.
But in the third quarter, White turned in eight points to bring the Demons a 52-42 advantage, but back came Capital on a 9-0 run that had Luna fling in a 3 to trim the gap to 52-51.
Then came the final quarter and the Jags missed their initial eight shots, but Santa Fe High didn’t do much better and held only a 56-53 lead with five minutes showing on the scoreboard clock. It came down to the final minutes and it was White’s clutch foul shooting that did the trick after Campos did his part.
In the 2-3A first place playoff game between St. Michael’s and top-ranked Robertson up at Espanola Valley, the Horsemen combined clutch shooting that included foul shots, improved on the defensive end had a premier game from senior Devin Flores and his 19 first half points
In the first round of the boys district tournaments, it was Indian School getting past visiting Raton, 59-51, in 2-3A, and in 2-4A, Los Alamos handed visiting Moriarty a 74-45 sendoff. Espanola Valley won that district in the regular season and will play host in the district tournament final.
In girls games, West Las Vegas won the playoff for first place in 2-3A by romping over cross town rival Robertson, 68-53, and in the 2-4A playoff
to decide the top spot, it was Espanola over Pojoaque Valley, 64-60.
And in the District 7-2A tournament, Clayton won 55-43, over Santa Rosa and now plays at second place Pecos in the semifinals Wednesday. The Panthers are the defending state champion, with the winner there hitting  the road to play at Texico in the final.
It was Clayton that forced a tie for the top spot by surprising Pecos on its home court. Then the Wolverines handily disposed of Pecos at home to claim first place. A win over Clayton now would send the Panthers to Texico again.

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