Flashback: late winter, 1989.
The first George Bush was in the White House. Michael Keaton’s “Batman” was still months away from hitting the big screen. Madonna was stirring up controversy with “Like A Prayer.” And Robertson High was celebrating a District 2-3A boys’ basketball title — an honor, it turns out, that would be its last for 22 years.
The Cardinals ended the drought Saturday night with a rousing 63-61 comeback against Taos.
“The boys played hard all the way through,” said RHS head coach David Bustos. “We fell behind, and we came charging — a good effort. I’m proud of the boys.”
The Tigers played evenly with their hosts in terms of hustle and they outshot the Cards much of the evening, leading 14-12 after one period and 29-25 at halftime.
Three uninterrupted scores gave Taos a 44-34 advantage with less than three minutes left in the third quarter.
Justin Bustos, who had eight of his 13 points in the third, led the Redbirds back within 46-41 to end the period.
Taos kept hitting shots from the perimeter and the foul line, building its lead back to nine points. It was 52-43 with 6:18 left in the game.
But Robertson embarked on an 18-4 run after that.
The Cardinals’ Dalan Abreu dropped a three-pointer from the left wing to make it 54-53. Then — in a showcase of pure blue-collar rebounding effort — Antonio Arguello drew fouls while going up for putbacks the next two RHS possessions. He hit all four free throws, putting his team ahead 57-54.
Taos answered with a mini-run, and Nick Zarasua’s drive to the bucket tied the game at 61-61.
The Tigers won possession on a jump ball call with 25 seconds to go.
But Bustos stole the ball and then drew a foul with 14 seconds left. He swished both free throws to regain the lead for the Cardinals.
Patrick Martinez, who’d tallied a game-high 18 points to that point, tried to work up the left baseline for the tying bucket, but he lost control of his dribble with six seconds to go.
Bustos, fouled immediately thereafter, missed both free throws. But the Cardinals stuffed Walo Martinez just past the half-court line, and time ran out on Taos.
Unofficial scoring, RHS (20-6): Antonio Arguello 17; Dalan Abreu 14; Justin Bustos 13; Josh Brito 6; David Coca 4; Joseph Mascareñas 4; Fabian Varela 2; John Adam Dimas 1.
Taos (17-9): Patrick Martinez 18; Walo Martinez 9; Nick Zarasua 9; Max Suazo 8; Joshua Garcia 6; Michael Gutierrez 4; Amadeo Trujillo 3; Alejandro Rodriguez 2; Brandon Suazo 2.
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In Thursday night’s semifinal at Taos, West Las Vegas climbed out of a double-digit hole and tied the game at 60-60 before falling 67-62.
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Mora turned Saturday night’s District 2-2A boys’ final into a coronation ceremony, blowing past Peñasco 81-50.
The Panthers looked to make a game of it in the first half and trailed just 27-23 at halftime. But the second half was much more typical Rangers basketball, speed and splash.
Hank Laumbach has led Mora to a 25-2 record and a top-five ranking.