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Home / News / Second place Santa Rosa arrived at Pecos Saturday with upset on its mind, but the streaking Panthers were more then ready and sent the Lions away with a decisive 69-35 setback

Second place Santa Rosa arrived at Pecos Saturday with upset on its mind, but the streaking Panthers were more then ready and sent the Lions away with a decisive 69-35 setback

By Arnie Leshin 
Arnie Leshin

With his Pecos team traveling to Texico Friday for its final regular-season game, senior Anthony Armijo put on a show before the home crowd at Louis G. Sanchez gymnasium Saturday night.

Armijo, a freshman who turned in a stellar effort when the Panthers won their first of three-straight state championships, prepared for a possible fourth time hoisting the championship trophy by scoring a team-high 22 points, bringing down a dozen rebounds, and dishing out five assists, as well as coming with five steals.
Perhaps expecting a tough test from second place Santa Rosa  (18-7 overall, 3-2 in district), Pecos coasted to a 69-35 win as seniors Xavier Padilla and Juan Valela added 13 points each, and fellow senior Ismael Villegas scored a dozen as Ira Harge, Jr.’s team won its 23rd of 24 starts and advanced its winning streak to 20 and 5-0 in District 7-2A.
Pecos went in front quickly and was ahead 18-6 after one quarter, 30-14 at halftime, and 49-26 heading into the final eight minutes.
Meanwhile Texico (14-7, 2-3) rolled over Clayton (6-16, 0-5) on the road, 63-37. And just to mention that 2A Magdalena, the only undefeated boys team in the state, became 23-0 with an 81-26 domination over Albuquerque’s Native American Community Academy.
Twice the Steers and Panthers were snowed out of the anticipated clash of the state’s top two 2A teams that was to be played at Pecos. Now this could become a featured game between them at the state tournament.
In 2-2A at the Christian Life Academy Saturday, the Academy of Technology and The Classics boys had no problem rolling past Tierra Encantada, 55-31, for its third win in four starts, and is 4-16 overall after losing its first 11 games.
But first-year head coach Anthony Moya had his team in full gear although it was only up 7-6 after one quarter, but the Phoenix took over in the second quarter and upped its slim lead to 18-8 at halftime, 35-19, after three quarters, and outscored TIerra Encantada 21-12 over the last eight minutes to win its third of five district starts.
The Phoenix have now won once at home, twice on the road, and once on a neutral court, and appear to be improving as the schedule winds down.
It was a 2-for-2 night as ATC’s girls won the opener and now set their sights on the the regular-season finale at home versus district leader Espanola McCurdy, with a possible playoff game emerging with the Bobcats having a one-game lead after previously defeating the Phoenix at home.
In the previous game between the two at ATC, it was the Phoenix again, this time by 67-52. ATC has three regular-season games remaining, Tuesday at Monte del Sol, Thursday home to the combined Desert Academy/Santa Fe Waldorf roster mix, and will get a visit Saturday from first place Espanola McCurdy.
In 2-3A, second place West Las Vegas (15-8, 7-1) warmed up for its Wednesday night game with the top spot on the line at first place St. Michael’s, by handing visiting Santa Fe Prep a 69-40 setback to drop the Griffins to 5-15 overall and now winless in their eight district starts.
Also is District 2, Santa Fe Indian School didn’t have it easy in carting off a 59-47 win up at Raton, with the Braves now at 12-11 overall and 2-5 in district. The Tigers dropped to 13-11, 1-7.
In 5-5A, the top two teams, first place Santa Fe High and second place cross-town rival Capital won on the road in setting up Wednesday night‘s contest at the Jaguars with the district lead at stake. The Demons are 20-3 overall and 8-0 in district. Capital is 21-3 and 7-1 and has lost two close games to Santa Fe High.
Before they meet up again, the visiting Jags had to turn back Albuquerque High, 72-56, while at Albuquerque Sandia, the Demons had a tough test before topping Sandia, 58-48.
Capital got away to a 14-7 lead after one quarter, led only 31-28 at the intermission, and then outscored Albuquerque High, 41-28 over the last two quarters as the five Jaguar starters combined for 65 of their total points.
Senior Antonio “TJ” Sanchez, the boys program’s all-time career scoring leader, led the way with 21 points, junior Dominic Luna and senior Seth Arroyos added 13 each, sophomore Chano Herrera tossed in 10, and senior Brandon Saiz was good for eight points.
The Bulldogs led once at 3-2,there were no ties, and four times the home team got within a point of the Jaguars at 33-32, 35-34, 37-36, and 39-38, but couldn’t grab the lead while Capital increased its advantage every time.
Luna turned in seven points in the first quarter, Sanchez scored six in the second and 10 in the third, and in the fourth it was Luna tossing in six points. Sanchez had his team’s lone 3 and was 5-for-5 from the foul line.
As for Santa Fe High, it had to play without starter P.J. Lovato, who was ill, and found itself down 29-28 at the half. Plus starters Cody Garcia and Carlos Dassaro sat with personal foul trouble.
But 6-foot-7 junior Fedonta “JB” White came through for the Demons with 24 points and 15 rebounds. Reserve sophomore guard Elijah Apodaca came in off the bench to contribute 12 points, and senior Cruz Martinez scored 10. Sandia dropped to 6-16 overall and 3-5 in district.

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