There was no stopping coach Jim Murphy and his Hope Christian-heavy lineup Friday night as the South dropped the North 84-69 in the Class 3A All-Star boys’ basketball game.
But Clint Brayfield and Ambrosio Castellano and the rest of the North bunch still gave it a (pre-) college try.
Both sides came out aggressively. But Murphy, who has built a smooth-running hoops machine at Hope and won multiple state titles, smartly relied on the five Huskies he brought with him to the Wilson Complex.
Hope’s Christian Schlenker, who scored the first two buckets of the game, put up 10 of his 12 points in the first half as the South opened a 46-36 lead.
Schlenker’s old teammate Matt Murphy had 17 points, 10 in the second half. Two more Huskies, Kyle Elliot and Tristan Perry, added 12 points apiece.
Despite facing a South team loaded with five members of the defending state champions (and Jake Tenorio from consensus No. 2 Sandia Prep), coach David Bustos and the North never let the game get away.
The South took its largest lead at 30-15 when Matt Murphy crashed the boards for a putback midway through the first half.
Brayfield, Bustos’ key inside man at Robertson, scored off a spin move in the lane, and moments later he took a Matthew Crockett feed for a layup as part of a North run late in the half.
Pojoaque’s Tom Nakotte finished with a team-high 12 points, including a three to keep the North within striking distance at halftime.
West Las Vegas’ Castellano provided a nice spark as well. He nailed a three-pointer from the right wing to make it 53-46, then came up with a steal on the ensuing play. But the South would regain possession and hit a trey of its own.
In fact, the South found a way to answer every time the North made a mini-run down the stretch, usually riding a seven-point lead.
Santa Fe Indian’s Stevan Rodriguez swished two free throws to pull the North within 62-59 with nine minutes left. But Elliot then hit two foul shots and Portales’ Shawn Carrasco scored after a steal.
Brayfield finished with 11 points and a couple of blocks; Castellano tallied six and a key steal.
The South boys now lead the All-Star series 6-4.