Jaguars fend off Albuquerque High
It was a recipe for disaster for the Capital boys basketball team.
The Jaguars were without leading scorer T.J. Sanchez for the overtime of a District 5-5A quarterfinal at Albuquerque High on Wednesday night, and they had just blown an 8-point lead in the last 2 minutes of regulation to get to that point.
But they survived thanks to 18 points from Brandon Saiz and pulled out a 62-55 win in Bulldog City.
Capital (20-8) will return to Albuquerque on Friday to play Manzano for a spot in the 5-5A championship at Santa Fe High the following day. The Jaguars also secured their fourth straight 20-win season.
Third-seeded Albuquerque High (8-17) used a 14-point quarter from Jude Tapia to help build a 39-33 lead heading into the fourth quarter before the Jaguars’ defense stiffened to build a 49-41 lead with 1:53 left. Tapia scored the last eight points of the game to tie it, while Capital, the fourth seed in the tournament, missed three 1-and-1 bonuses at the free-throw line in the final moments. In the process, Sanchez left the game with an ankle injury and never returned.
In the overtime, Capital built a 53-49 lead early, then did its job at the free-throw line. The Jaguars hit seven of their last eight, and Brandon Saiz came up with a big steal after hitting two from the stripe that made it 60-52. He was fouled and hit two more for a 10-point lead with 13.6 seconds left.
Sanchez had 16 points before leaving the game, and Dominic Luna added 13. Tapia scored 25 points to lead the Bulldogs.
Abq. High 51, Capital 48
The fifth-seeded Lady Jaguars had everything lined up to keep their season alive, but the No. 3 Lady Bulldogs would not be denied as they outscored the visitors 17-10 in the fourth quarter to overcome a 38-34 deficit in a 5-5A quarterfinal in Bulldog City.
Azalea Martinez scored seven points in the fourth quarter to lead the comeback for Albuquerque High (11-15), and Kendra Shorts hit all four of her free throws down the stretch to preserve the win.
Miranda Cortez exploded for 14 of her 15 points in the second and third quarters and hit four 3-pointers to lead the Lady Jaguars (10-17). Vivica Armijo-Vigil added 11.
Clayton 62, Pecos 52
The upset of the night came in Louis G. Sanchez Memorial Gymnasium, as the third-seeded jackets scored 40 points combined in the second and fourth quarters to beat the No. 2 Lady Panthers.
Clayton (15-10) scored 22 points in the second to turn a 14-9 lead into a 36-21 advantage heading into the break. Pecos rallied to get within 44-38 entering the fourth, and cut it to 44-42 on a pair of Alexis Gonzales free throws. Clayton kept the Lady Panthers at bay before Keegan Geary nailed a 3-pointer to make it 51-45. Pecos (19-6) never got closer than four the rest of the way.
“No excuses, but we were without our starting point guard [Brittney Martinez] and our number-two bench player,” Pecos head coach Ron Drake said. “But we didn’t play good defense. They scored as many points in the first half as they did last week [a 41-34 Pecos win on Feb. 16].”
Alexis Gonzales had 11 points for Pecos, while Trinity Herrera led the team with 16.