Pecos playing St. Pius for Stu Clark Tournament title
Pecos head boys basketball coach Ira Harge Jr. knows the words to the Albuquerque St. Pius X fight song.
He’ll fight the urge to sing them at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Harge and the Panthers will take on Albuquerque St. Pius X — Harge is a 1982 graduate — for the Stu Clark Tournament title in the John A. Wilson Complex on the New Mexico Highlands University campus in Las Vegas, N.M. Pecos earned a spot by beating Mora 83-59 in the semifinal nightcap Friday night, while the Sartans outlasted Las Vegas Robertson 50-45 in the other semifinal.
If Harge seems a bit conflicted about going against his alma mater, it’s because he is.
“Normally, I cheer for Pius no matter who they’re playing,” Harge said. “[Saturday], I can’t cheer for them, but I’m very excited. They’re a very good team.”
So are the Panthers (8-2), who jumped out to a 41-15 halftime lead on the Rangers. Xavier Padilla scored 17 of his 22 points in the first half, including eight in the opening quarter, to help Pecos to a 20-7 lead. Matching Padilla was Ismael Villegas, who had 14 of his 22 points in the second half, and Juan Varela chipped in 13 points.
Carlos Muller Jr. led the Rangers (5-5) with 21 points and Jerome Pacheco added 13.
While scoring was easier against Mora, Harge harbors no illusion of doing the same thing against St. Pius (5-4). Patience will determine the victor.
“They are extremely disciplined,” Harge said. “Damian [Segura, St. Pius head coach] does a really great job of that. It’s going to be a battle of the wills. Right now, he is good at controlling tempo and pace. It’s going to be a fun game.”
Clovis 77, St. Michael’s 48
The Horsemen were anything but confident and disciplined against the Class 5A Wildcats in the semifinals of Clovis’ Griegos & Sons Classic in Rock Staubus Gymnasium.
Clovis jumped out to an 18-8 lead and St. Michael’s head coach David Rodriguez said it could have been worse.
“They came with a press, and we didn’t handle it very well,” Rodriguez said. “We looked scared, tentative even. That is coming from seniors, and our seniors need to handle the ball a lot better.”
The Wildcats (8-3) upped the margin to 39-16 at the half and 54-29 entering the fourth quarter. Dewayne Dawson led Clovis with 13 points, and Bryce Cabeldue added 10. Connor Glatz led the Horsemen (7-3) with eight points, while Lucas Coriz added seven.