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No fans in the stands for the semifinals and finals of the New Mexico state basketball tournament

By Arnie Leshin 
If Capital’s boys thought they were getting a break when 10th seeded Albuquerque Eldorado surprised 7th seeded Hobbs, they learned differently when the Eagles battled back from an early deficit and played the Jaguars until the final buzzer before losing 60-55 in the 5A quarterfinals of the state basketball tournament played at University of New Mexico’s Dreamstyle Arena Wednesday. 
Capital, seeded 2nd, is now at 27-4 and into the semifinals against 6th seed Rio Rancho Cleveland, which dominated 3rd seeded Santa Fe High, 66-45, in the last game of the day and it was then announced by the New Mexico Activities Association that no fans in the stands will be allowed for the semifinal and finals. Only coaches, trainers, and some approved family members will be 
allowed into the building. 
But first the Jags had to get past Eldorado and its 6-foot-6 senior Deraje Agbacsi. They took a 12-7 lead after one quarter and 26-17 at halftime. In that span Capital picked up a pair of 3s from 6-4 senior Chano Herrera and one from 5-11 senior star Antonio “TJ” Sanchez, the program’s all-time leading scorer. But Eldorado (23-9) hung right with the Jags, trading baskets that included two 3s, and also making 4-of-4 free throws. 
Heading into the final quarter, it cut the gap to 39-36 and Agbacsi was just getting started as he saved his best for the last eight minutes. So did Sanchez, although he did have 15 of his game-high 23 points over three quarters time. Agbacsi, in turn, wound up with his team-high 20, and 14 had come after three quarters. 
It was a good shooting contest between two teams with plenty of energy. At times, it was you score and then we score. For Eldorado, that was Agbacsi, junior Elijah Parham and senior Matt Vigil. For Capital it was Sanchez, Herrera and senior Brandon Saiz and Seth Arroyos. Parham scored a dozen and Vigil added 11. Arroyos came up with 16 clutch points, Herrera contributed nine and Saiz eight. 
Prior to the showdown minutes of the two ties and lead changes, it was Sanchez and Agbacsi trading baskets. TJ scored one, and after a 3-point play by the Eagles to cut the deficit to one as the clock ticked down, it was Sanchez to the rescue with a steal and layup to up the lead to three, and then his short jumper brought the final score and a Jaguar rematch with Cleveland, which trailed by 16 at Capital during the regular season, and found a way to leave victoriously. 
Then there was 5A Santa Fe HIgh (23-6) getting away to a 7-0 lead before Cleveland (28-8) scored and the Storm found the range to go up 13-9 after one quarter and up it to 27-17 at the intermission. After that the Demons were not a threat, outscored 39-28 over the last two quarters and the advantage increased to 50-33, 56-35, and 60-37.
They were also in trouble early when their 6-6 junior Fedonta “JB” White picked up two early personal fouls. He finished with 18 points but Cleveland had just two much size and energy for Santa Fe High, which lost in last year’s final to Albuquerque Atrisco Heritage. The Storm also won In a previous game at Santa Fe High.
This time there was one lead change, and that was the Storm going in front for good at 11-9. It made good on four 3s, two more than the Demons, and the 9-9 score was the only tie. 
In 3A, the spotlight was on 6-foot-4 Bosque Charter School senior Elijah Davidson and his father is sure going to miss him. His fifth year on the boy’s basketball team under his dad, head coach Clifton Davidson, was his best and he capped it in leading the 3rd seeded Bobcats over 6th seeded St. Michael’s, 48-46, in a back-and-forth quarterfinals that saw eight lead changes and three ties.
“This was our best year since I’ve been here,” said Elijah, who led the team in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocked shots, and shining in this game with 24 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Bosque (24-4) was a rejuvenated team that finished third in its district behind Albuquerque Sandia Prep, losing twice to the Sundevils and once to Cuba, but in the district tournament final it turned back Sandia Prep, 63-52, but it didn’t get the Bobcats more than a 3rd seed because the top-seeded Sundevils won the regular season title. 
St. Michael’s broke away quickly, taking a 12-7 lead after one quarter and shutting down Elijah. But it was 19-19 at the half, and in the second quarter there were five lead changes, with the Horsemen (19-11) forcing the tie after on a basket just before the buzzer. But after the intermission, Bosque took the lead back at 32-31, and led 37-33 heading into the final quarter. By then, Elijah had 18 points, 10 boards, a pair of assists and two steals. 
The final eight minutes had St. Michael’s right in the mix despite having a disadvantage in size with Elijah and 6-6 junior Wyatt Vanmeter, who added 11 points and nine rebounds. After a 37-all deadlock, the Horsemen took the lead again and increased it to 41-37. But it didn’t last long as Bosque made back-to-back 3s and went in front 43-41. But St. Michael’s responded by tying things this time at 43-43. 
Then the Bobcats made their third 3 of the contest, and the Horsemen answered with their second. Now at 46-all, it was Elijah who scored the final basket on a missed shot that he banked back in as the clock wound down. Naturally his dad was overjoyed to see this, but can’t be too happy that his son is in his final season. Bosque now plays in the semifinals against the winner of the 2nd seeded Hot Springs, 10th seeded NMMi contest. 
Also is 3A, 5th seeded West Las Vegas (20-9) won the cross town battle over 4th seeded Robertson, 52-49, to advance against top-seeded Albuquerque Sandia Prep and end the Cardinals’ season at 22-8.
In 4A, 7th seeded Espanola Valley was dominated by 2nd seeded Gallup and took a 72-47 defeat to finish at 18-11. Gallup will play 3rd seeded Albuquerque Highland in the semis. 
In 2A at Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, three-time defending state champion Pecos won its 22nd in a row, advanced to 27-1, and the No. 1 seed had no problem disposing 9th seeded Rehoboth Chrisitain, 80-47, and it was business as usual. It was only 19-10 as the Panthers closed out the first quarter. But the lead then soared to 18 points at halftime as senior guard Anthony Armijo tossed in a 3 as the buzzer sounded. 
“We get on a run and we are out of there,” said head coach Ira Harge, Jr., “and in the fourth quarter we had a good lead but we just opened it up.”
Correct, as his team went on a 28-point run over the final eight minutes. Senior Xavier Padilla had the game-high 24 points, senior Ismael Villegas added 18 and brought down six rebounds, senior Juan Varela scored a dozen and Armijo 11. All but Villegas have been with the varsity for all three state championships, one in 3A and the last two in 2A. Villegas made varsity his junior season.
The Panther defense also brought 27 turnovers from Rehoboth Christian and they had a 24-6 advantage in fast break points and took 66 shots to Rehoboth’s 41, and the losers wound up at 13-8, and Pecos now plays 5th seeded Newcomb (22-8), which rolled over 4th seeded Menaul, 65-41, in what had to be considered a mild surprise score wise.
Also In 2A at the same site, Texico almost spoiled Magdalena’s perfect season. The Wolverines (15-10), third in District 7-2A behind Pecos and Santa Rosa, gave the Steers their biggest challenge of the season, coming from behind to wipe out a huge deficit before 2nd seeded Magdalena survived to win its 29th game in a row, and remain the state’s only undefeated team with a 52-45 win, its closest of the campaign.
Texico looked outclassed in the opening quarter, falling behind 11-0 before 6-3 senior and co-captain Luke Phipps scored, but Magdalena tossed in a 3 in the final seconds and it was up 14-2 after one quarter. In the second quarter, the Wolverines were only outscored 16-15, but still behind  30-17 at halftime. In the third quarter, Texico made its move, outscoring the Steers 16-7 and cutting the gap to 37-33 heading into the final quarter.
Still, Magdalena couldn’t shake the Wolverines, who took their first lead at 38-37 early in the quarter after a 37-37 tie. Magdalena went back in front 39-38, another tie made it 40-all, and Texico went in front again at 42-40. And that’s the way it stayed in the final minutes, with the Wolverines holding their last lead at 45-44. What transpired was the Steers going ahead 47-45 on a pair of free throws by sophomore Joren Mirabal, the team’s leading scorer. His brother Jaxson, a senior, followed with two more charity tosses, and senior Owen Olney made two more as their team won out from the foul line.
Jordan had a team-high 15 points, Olney scored 12, Jaxson 11, senior Kyle Julian 10, and junior Mason Greenwood four.  For Texico, junior Dave Davalos led the way with the game-high 16 points, Phipps added 14, senior Ruger Horton 10, and junior Anders Nelson three. Joren Mirabal also brought down eight rebounds, had three steals and three blocks.
Magdalena had been scheduled to play at top-ranked Pecos in an anticipated match-up, but the first time it was postponed by a snow storm, and the second time cancelled by another snow storm. Now it just might meet up with the Panthers in the state tournament, although the Wolverines almost cancelled that by storming back only to lose at the foul line. The Steers next meet up in the semifinals with 6th seeded Jal, which disposed of 3rd seeded Santa Rosa, 47-42.

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