Justin Bustos made a living at the foul line Monday night, going 10 for 12 at the charity stripe, and tallied 21 total points to lead Robertson to a 73-63 boys’ basketball win over crosstown rival West Las Vegas at Gillie Lopez Gym.
Bustos swished his first 10 free throws, all in the fourth quarter, before missing twice in his last trip to the foul line.
The Cardinals (15-5 overall, 3-3 District 2-3A) got what they were looking for — a bounce-back game after consecutive district losses to leader Santa Fe Indian School (6-0) and Pojoaque Valley.
But they didn’t have an easy time against a Dons team that played one of its best games to date thanks to a solid backcourt performance and some fine defensive sequences.
RHS led 18-11 after one period and extended the advantage to 26-14 following Antonio Arguello’s hoop, assisted by Dalan Abreu. But West broke the run with a three-pointer by Ryan Aragon and by halftime the margin was down to 35-30.
Clint Brayfield scored three baskets early in the third quarter, helping the Cardinals to a 43-34 cushion. But that cushion disappeared in a hurry, as Tomas Benavidez scored off an Anthony Madrid dish, Madrid popped a three-pointer, and then T.J. Esquibel and Jordan Lopez scored in transition after stealing the ball. The latter bucket tied the game at 43-43.
Former Don Fabian Varela stopped the bleeding with a strong move in the lane that fell a free throw shy of a three-point play. It would be the first of eight straight RHS points, and the Cards took a 53-47 lead to the fourth period.
Bustos had the ball in his hands plenty in the final frame, repeatedly drawing contact and getting to the foul line.
And he did not disappoint once he got there.
His fifth and sixth makes of the period made it a double-digit margin at 65-55 with 3:23 on the clock.
His ninth and 10th makes gave RHS its largest lead of the night, 70-57.
Unofficial scoring, Robertson: Justin Bustos, 21; Clint Brayfield, 14; Fabian Varela, 12; Mike Martinez, 11; Dalan Abreu, 8; R.J. McNellis, 3; Antonio Arguello, 2; Jacob Quintana, 2.
WLV: Jordan Lopez, 16; Anthony Madrid, 11; Corey Archibeque, 9; Ambrosio Castellano, 6; T.J. Esquibel, 6; Ryan Aragon, 5; Tomas Benavidez, 4; Steven Gonzales, 4; Martin Blea, 1; Chris Chavez, 1.
West is 5-16, 1-5, under David “Morgan” Montaño. The Dons visit Raton Wednesday night. Their home finale is Friday night when Pojoaque comes to the Gillie Lopez Gym. Next week brings road games at St. Mike’s (Thursday the 18th) and Robertson (Saturday the 20th) as the regular season winds to a close.
Coach David Bustos’ Robertson club, ranked sixth in Class 3A, plays at St. Mike’s on Wednesday and at Raton on Friday. They close the regular season with two home games — mighty SFIS on Thursday the 18th and the second East-West matchup on the 20th.