Final play sinks Redbirds

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By Dave Kavanaugh

James Thornton scored five points in the final minute — including an old-fashioned three-point play with 10 seconds remaining — to lift Socorro past No. 4 Robertson 49-48 on Saturday night at Mike Marr Gym.

The Cardinals, playing in their home gym for the first time this season, found themselves playing catch-up throughout, thanks to a first-half barrage of three-point baskets by Warrior guards Zach Esquivel and Jared Marquez.

Socorro led 22-15 through one period after going up by as much as nine.

Five Cardinals scored in the second period — Fabian Varela made a couple of buckets; David Coca and Josh Brito hit threes — to help RHS close within 32-29 at halftime.

Justin Bustos took command as Robertson overtook Socorro in the third. After Antonio Arguello tied the game with a free throw, Bustos’ three-pointer gave RHS its first lead (since 2-0) at the 4:52 mark. The Cards led 41-38 entering the final quarter.

The Warriors retook the lead but Arguello hit four straight free throws and Varela scored on a putback to give RHS a 48-44 edge.

Bustos attacked from the left baseline but was ticketed for a charge with 55 seconds left.

Thornton scored on a putback on the other end. Then, after an RHS turnover, Thornton emerged from a crowd in the paint on the other end to swish a tying floater and draw a foul. The ensuing free throw would be the game-winner.

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Despite a nine-point scoring boost from Frank Duran, West Las Vegas (4-8) lost 83-54 to Artesia on Friday.

The Dons lost to Portales 55-36 the following night . Both games were in Portales. No other stats were available.