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Dons put freeze on Ruidoso

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By Dave Kavanaugh

It didn’t take West Las Vegas Dons long to put their letdown in the Taos Invitational behind them.

Tuesday night, the team throttled visiting Ruidoso 77-60, staying in control on both ends of the floor and improving to 2-3 overall.

West senior Adrian Rivera led all scorers with 29 points. He has surpassed the quarter century mark in points in four of the Dons’ five games.

Ruidoso looked affected by the snowstorm that had swept across the state earlier in the day. The Warriors committed a number of turnovers, both forced and unforced, and often had to foul the Dons, who smartly exploited their opponents’ miscues.

Rivera scored nine of the Dons’ first 13 points and 11 of their first 18.

Ruidoso led only once, on back-to-back buckets by Keith Brower and Jared Marquez to grab a 6-4 edge.

A few plays later, Rivera drew a foul while in the act of slashing to the basket. He hit the ensuing free throw for the old-fashioned three-point play. West came up with a defensive stop, and then it was Jonathan Martinez’s turn to convert an old-fashioned three-point play, putting the Dons back in front 11-8. Rivera and Martinez scored the next two baskets, and Derek Gold added a free throw, capping a run of 11 straight points. WLV led 16-10 after one period and never again trailed in the game.

Martinez finished the first half by stealing the ball and scoring for a 36-25 West lead, matching the Dons’ largest to that point.

Tomas Benavidez hit a shot and Rivera nailed a three-pointer to open the second half for West, preventing the Warriors from pickign up any momentum after the break.

A 9-0 WLV run late in the third quarter, capped by Zack Armijo’s basket, made the score 54-32. Ruidoso made one of four free throw attempts to close the period.

The Dons’ largest lead came midway through the fourth period, when Fabian Varela scored to make it 67-38.

Marquez hit a couple of outside shots, including a three-pointer, to help the Warriors make a late run against the Dons’ second unit.

Martinez finished with 12 points, Fabian Varela had eight, and Anthony Madrid had seven for West.

Marquez led Ruidoso with 13 points. Mario Varela had 12 and Keith Brower 10.