Stumbling Demons lose to Sandia

February 14, 2019

The Santa Fe High Demons are caught in a frustrating loop — fall behind early, rally to get back into the game, then fall at the end.

For the third time in the last five District 5-5A boys basketball games, Santa Fe High fell into this trap. On Tuesday night, Albuquerque Sandia built a 31-18 halftime lead, but the Demons fought their way back and were 7 seconds away from a win. Lucas Jordan foiled those hopes when he drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Matadors a 54-53 win in Toby Roybal Memorial Gymnasium.

Santa Fe High (16-7 overall, 3-4 in 5-5A) lost for the fourth time in the last five games and is in a four-way logjam for last place in the district. In three of those losses, it faced a double-digit deficit in the first half. Each time, the Demons came back and even held leads before their opponents made the final winning push.

Zack Cole, the third-year Santa Fe High head coach, said his team’s starts have been the biggest problem.

“We come out flat and we get down that big of a deficit,” Cole said. “Therefore, when we do make our runs — and we’re pretty good about making our runs — our runs are simply closing the gap, not extending the lead. Then we get tired, and get guys into foul trouble. … The moral of the story out of [Tuesday] is that we got to avoid those deficits.”

Sandia led 16-5 after a quarter and extended the lead to 13 at the half, as Santa Fe High was just 8 of 22 from inside the 3-point arc and 1-for-10 beyond it. The Demons caught fire in the third quarter, outscoring the Matadors 19-9 to get within 40-37 heading into the fourth. They built a 53-51 lead with just 8 seconds left, but Sandia (9-12, 3-4) got the ball to Jordan, who hit the wide-open triple with no time left.

Cole said the loss was heartbreaking, but he told the Demons that fate is in their hands. It just means winning their last three district games.

“I feel like that has been the message for the last four games: We are in control of our own destiny,” Cole said. “That’s a good thing. We don’t have to depend on other people, and we’re fortunate that it’s still that.”

St. Michael’s 79, Santa Fe Prep 41

The Horsemen improved to 7-0 in 2-3A as they built a 34-19 lead at the half and never looked back in Prep Gymnasium.

Once again, the post play for St. Michael’s (16-7) dominated, as Thomas Wood led a trio of double-digit post scorers with 18 points, while Connor Glatz added 12 and Hayden Lee 10.

St. Michael’s head coach David Rodriguez felt his team played with the kind of intensity it needed at this time of the season.

“Everyone got on the floor,” Rodriguez said. “We played every one, which is 15 kids right now. It was a good effort. We’re rolling along with a big game against [Las Vegas] Robertson on Friday night.”

Victor Otero scored 12 points for the Horsemen, while Jevon Montoya has seven points and five assists. Sean Coles led the Blue Griffins (7-13, 0-7) with 14 points.

Española Valley 86, Moriarty 57

The Sundevils were consistent throughout their 2-4A rout of the Pintos in Moriarty.

Española (15-8, 6-0) led 22-13 after a quarter, then stretched it to 45-27 at the half before outscoring Moriarty (3-20, 1-5) 28-11 in the third quarter to make it 73-38 heading into the fourth.

“As a team, everyone stepped up and contributed to the victory in various ways,” Sundevils head coach James Branch said.

Ryan Trujillo and Brian Martinez each had 24 points to lead Española, while Jordan Duda added 10.

New Mexico School for the Deaf 65, Walatowa 51

The Roadrunners returned to 7-1A after a weeklong break, and had 6-foot-10 senior forward Deven Thompson score 25 points and grab 26 rebounds to lead the way in a road game in Jemez. Freshman Dustin Hand added 12 points to finish off the first half of back-to-back district games. NMSD returns to Jemez to take on Jemez Valley.